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The 241 Toll Road will benefit all Southern California drivers, from commuters to families heading to the coast for a weekend escape. As we all know, a serious traffic accident on Interstate 5 completely gridlocks the region. And traffic is only projected to get worse, especially on weekends. Completing the 241 Toll Road will give drivers an inland alternative to I-5 between San Diego and points northward in an area where drivers have no choice.

The 241 is financed by toll-revenue bonds, not taxes, and has been on the maps for decades. The Transportation Corridor Agencies, government agencies led by a board of elected officials, are planning the final 16 miles of the roadway. It will stretch from the current end of the 241 in rapidly growing eastern Orange County south to connect with Interstate 5 on Camp Pendleton.

The 241 is part of a regional solution to increased traffic. The San Diego Association of Governments, or SANDAG, has included the 241 in its transportation plan because it feels the road is an important addition regionally.  It will be particularly helpful to residents in Northern San Diego County who use the I-5.  That’s why officials from Escondido, Vista, San Marcos, Oceanside and Carlsbad are supporters. They have seen the negative impact of increased traffic on their residents and have personally experienced gridlock heading north on I-5 at all times of the day. Read comments from leading San Diegans here.

Tourism is a vital part of San Diego’s economy and many of the visitors come from Orange and Los Angeles counties. Crawling along I-5 surely doesn’t fit with anyone’s vision of a pleasant weekend getaway to San Diego. Without the 241 and growing congestion on I-5, there’s no question that visitors to San Diego will consider other destinations.

In this discussion, we are hoping to get past the emotional misrepresentations and distortions that have crept into the public debate on this topic to look at the real facts. In early February, the California Coastal Commission voted against the project. The Transportation Corridor Agencies have appealed that decision to the federal Department of Commerce and we think once the Department of Commerce and others look at the facts of the route and the sensitivity in the planning every foot of the way that it will be approved.  The plan protects all of our environmental resources, was designed so that the road doesn’t come any closer to the beach than a half-mile inland and will provide real traffic relief to the thousands stuck on Interstate 5.

Read more about the 241 and check out a map of the route at RelieveTraffic.org.

— TOM MARGRO

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