U.S. Rep. Ken Calvert (R-Pomona), said San Clemente’s prospects for much cash from the feds for projects were pretty grim.
One bright spot in the fiscal picture was that the U.S. government was putting a priority on a beach-replenishment project by the Army Corps of Engineers.
Calvert visited with San Clemente City Council Wednesday afternoon to talk about different projects in town that could receive federal funding. The Corps of Engineers has been working on beach-replenishment plans for years.
“That’s a responsibility of the federal government,” Calvert said. “It’s a higher priority, [but] obviously there’s going to be less money. It’s a huge thing for the economy out here, obviously, if there’s no sand on the beaches.”
Calvert said the feds were obligated to make sure San Clemente’s beaches didn’t wash away because it was the Corps of Engineers that turned the Santa Ana River into a concrete channel.
Engineered to prevent flooding in urban areas, the channelization unintentionally robbed beaches of fresh supplies of sediment.
City Manager George Scarborough also updated Calvert on, a project under the purview of Orange County.
The link-up would allow motorists to avoid using Interstate 5 as an arterial between San Clemente and San Juan.
Calvert said that there are no federal funds dedicated to the project but that because it would take traffic pressure off I-5, an interstate highway under the jurisdiction of the feds, it could be eligible for some money from the upcoming transportation bill.
The downside: “We have a $50-billion hole in the transportation bill compared to what the Democrats and the Republicans want to do,” Calvert said. “You know, we’re broke. We’re borrowing 40 cents on every dollar we spend right now. Serving on the budget committee is a sobering thing.”
Correction: In a previous version of this article, the agency overseeing the La Pata extension project was misidentified because of a reporting error.