Toll Road Endorsement Plans Revealed by Regional Chamber of Commerce

The controversial last 16 miles of the 241 toll road will be completed—if the South Orange County Regional Chamber of Commerce has its way.

A new team of business people, stakeholders and others seeking to complete the last 16 miles of the 241 toll road was announced Wednesday morning during the annual changing of the board at the South Orange County Regional Chamber of Commerce meeting in Mission Viejo.

The SOC Economic Coalition is a new advocate for business interests in South County, said Jim Leach, Cox Cable's vice president and the initiative's new chairman.

The coalition will advocate job creation and hold business-to-business mixers where its members will advocate political positions favorable to businesses. Its members will appear at public meetings as advocates for business interests, too.

"Where there are NIMBYs, where there are people who don't recognize the importance of business, that's where we'll be," Leach said.

The coalition will also support the completion of the toll road, he said.

"We're going to be the ones selling t-shirts," SOC Chairman John Whitman said. He said 241 extension proponents will outnumber opponents five to one as he discussed raising money for the new coalition.

The completion of the last 16 miles of the 241 toll road has drawn crowds of thousands, for and against, at mass meetings of the California Coastal Commission at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. In Feb. 2008, the CCC rejected the extension in an 8-2 vote.

Right now the 241 stops at Oso Parkway in Rancho Santa Margarita. The extension would add 16 miles of highway connecting with I-5 south of San Clemente.

But the Foothill/Eastern Transportation Corridor Agency has released a study Wednesday they say proves the need for the extension.

The extension would generate over $3 billion and add over 17,000 jobs to the state, including about 13,600 in Orange County, according to economic consultant Beacon Economics in a report commissioned by the TCA.

Here's how those numbers break down:


Orange County

The Rest of







$2.33 billion

$718 million

$3.05 billion


$862 million

$231 million

$1.09 billion

State/local taxes

$121.5 million

$38.1 million

$159.5 million

Many of those jobs and much of the spending would go toward the actual construction of the extension, said TCA spokeswoman Lisa Telles.

Grocers, retailers and other businesses that rely on trucking would also benefit, Telles said.

The Surfrider Foundation has been the largest organized opponent to the extension. The environmental group says an extension would hurt water quality and waves at the popular Trestles surf spot, as well as promote development of a pristine stretch of Southern California.

Bill S September 16, 2011 at 05:42 PM
me too, can someone please write an article on the businesses that belong to the "regional chamber of commerce"? Cox cable is one and I am overdue from firing them... $140 cable bill is ridiculous.
April Josephson September 16, 2011 at 07:44 PM
Lindsey, I am not a mindless follower, and have always been concerned with our environment. I find your comments illogical. I don't know where you live, but I have done my research and my financial calculations. Using the 241 toll road saves me in auto expenses. Not being in stop and go traffic has prolonged my brake life, using this shortcut saves miles driven, saves gas, and prevents pollution among other benefits. I have a better quality of life thanks to the 241 and peace of mind every time I am able to get from point A to point B without dealing with the traffic nightmare that many live through daily. You don't seem to have any facts to support your assertion that the "elite" using the 73 don't have any impact on the traffic on the 5. When I drive down the 133 in Laguna Canyon on weekday evenings, which I do often, I see most of the traffic leaving the 133 to get onto the 73 south. Traffic is often backed up in the canyon to that point. When you have numbers to support your statements, I will consider believing you. Further, this article is about extending the 241. What does any statement about the 73 have to do with it? I believe there is a way to complete the 241 that will not have the level of negative environmental impact that people like you claim there is. Until I am shown facts that prove otherwise beyond a shadow of a doubt, I will continue to support its completion.
Joe September 16, 2011 at 08:42 PM
"I believe there is a way to complete the 241 that will not have the level of negative environmental impact" If this were the case, we wouldn't be having this conversation. Move on to other projects so that people can actually get to work, rather than dwelling on this disaster.
Squonk September 20, 2011 at 04:18 PM
"down with corporate anything" LOL! Yes, California needs to drive more business out of the state. Afterall, we're only at 12% unemployment. I bet we can get to 25% by next year if we work hard enough!
Don Patterson March 07, 2012 at 10:49 PM
On top of that, as the revenues declined, they increased the "Inactivity Fees" that you have to pay if you have a transponder but *don't* use the tollroads. I would be totally suspicious of projections on use by anyone that stands to gain by building a tollroad. I'm trying to get a petition going to fight the $2.00 a month inactivity fee: http://ow.ly/9owhs I also made a graph of projected revenue showing when the fee was increased that you can see here: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/220197/FightTheFee/2009FeeIncrease.png


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