Would You Like Fries With That Toll Road?

Well, surprise, surprise!  Once again, the Transportation Corridor Agencies (“TCA”) are trying to pull a fast (food) one on the residents of south Orange County.

When Orange County's John Wayne Airport debuts its gleaming multimillion dollar facelift next month, many restaurants in the new Terminal C wing won’t be ready because the TCA chose to slap them with “unexpectedly high” development fees.  Carl’s Jr. alone had to hand over an extra $100,000 to the TCA before it could start renovating its space.

I’m no math wiz, but that’s a lot of $6 burgers.

We’ve known for years that the TCA is willing to pave over a beloved state park to build a toll road.  We also know that this financially troubled agency will do everything in its power – including applying for billions of federal taxpayer dollars – to keep its financial house of cards intact.  These reprehensible actions already have many Orange County residents broiling mad.

But this whopper of a fee is absolutely ridiculous.

These fees are hitting small businesses squarely in the pocketbook, and for what?  To pay for a squadron of lobbyists and lawyers working on a billion-dollar road that has already been rejected by the Bush Administration.

This agency is so tone-deaf that it doesn’t hesitate to impose unjustifiable costs and inconveniences on the very communities it professes to serve.  Orange County deserves better than this.  Today’s revelation should be a wake-up call to the community that the TCA is completely out of touch and needs an overhaul.