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Toll Road Troubles Are Schadenfreude for Laguna Beach Residents

The San Joaquin Hills toll road's money woes suit some just fine.

With the state of California starting to ask questions to find out if Orange County's toll roads can earn enough money to pay off the interest payments—the things cost a whopping $2.4 billion to build back in the go-go '90s—some Laguna Beach residents are enjoying a bit of told-you-so schadenfreude, taking pleasure in the pain of others.

Well, maybe not openly to the point of gloating, but you sure get that feeling when reading between the lines of Barbara Diamond's Coastline Pilot story on the subject. Some, like Planning Commissioner Norm Grossman, actually seem sympathetic to the Transportation Corridor Agnecy's empty-pocketed plight:

"No one is enjoying saying we were right ... The sad thing is what happened and the damage that was done."

Even more interesting are the Laguna Beach public figures who, nearly 20 years after the San Joaquin Hills toll road opened for business, have stayed true to their vow of never, ever driving the concrete monster that slammed an unwelcome path across Laguna Canyon, such as former council member Verna Rollinger, and current Planning Commissioner Anne Johnson, who says that even her children and granchildren have promised to never drive it.

Now that's some serious commitment, right there ...

Meanwhile, here's a video made by your handsome Laguna Beach Patch editor in 1994 (with a 2009 update) that shows a pre-tollway Laguna Canyon, featuring interviews with several toll road opponents, including footage of a save-the-canyon rally ... and performance art galore!

ghjnytjn December 25, 2012 at 04:49 PM
Wonder if any studies have been done to see if there's an increase in commerce in LB because of the toll road. If a substantial increase could be verified, that would demonstrate a boon to local businesses and I doubt Laguna Beach public figures would then be quite so adamantly anti toll road. http://www.djcraig.net/lagunabeachwedding
Jim January 01, 2013 at 12:26 AM
More likely that the toll road will be found associated with more traffic and overcrowding without contributing significantly to local business. The toll road was a bad idea to begin with and a failure, an eyesore and an ecological disaster in the long run. Thanks again for nothing, developers.

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