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The federal government has rejected an appeal from the Irvine-based Foothill/Eastern Transportation Corridor Agency to build a six-lane, $875 million toll road through San Onofre State Beach in northern San Diego County.

The project had been rejected by the California Coastal Commission in February. The transportation agency appealed the decision to the U.S. Commerce Department, which heard arguments in September. The department had the power to overturn the state decision.

It did not, though, citing this reason in a press release this morning:

[T]he department may override an objection only if no reasonable alternative to the project exists and the proposal is consistent with the objectives of the CZMA, or if the project is necessary in the interest of national security. The department determined that there is at least one reasonable alternative to the project. The department also found that the project is not necessary in the interest of national security.

Opponents had argued that widening Interstate 5 was a more viable and less environmentally damaging alternative.

ROB DAVIS

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