Hmmm... This is interesting. I guess I'm not the only one who has questions about the proposed 241 Toll Road extension to Trestles. Art Pedroza also has problems with this, and he's talking about it on Orange Juice, albeit for a somewhat different reason.
I heard a strange story yesterday from a pajarito. Turns out that the proposed extension of the 241 will be done under the auspices of a PLA. I have not checked on that yet, but it could be true. All county public works projects were under a PLA for some time, and perhaps this one has been on the books long enough to do so as well.
For those who don't know, a PLA is a "project labor agreement." It bans non-union contractors from bidding on public works under PLAs unless they hire their workers from the union hall. PLAs reduce bidders, increase costs, and cause delays. The only ones who benefit from PLAs are of course the unions.
So can the TCA and the OC GOP machine lose their conservatives on the 241 Extension if it looks like they're getting "too cozy with the unions"? Follow me after the flip for more (including more San Onofre/San Clemente visuals!) on how conservatives may be torn on this prickly issue...
[DISCLAIMER: I have friends in the local unions here. In no way, shape, or form do I endorse ANY of the anti-union sentiment expressed by any of the conservatives that I mention in this article. I just wanted to clear the air before we get started. : ) ]
So how can conservatives not love the toll road extension? Well, for one, many of the unions are for it. And judging by Art Pedroza's new found suspicion, some local conservatives might be afraid that the TCA would actually allow the construction workers to collectively bargain and get decent benefits. And come on, we know just how anti-union our local OC wingnuts can be.
But still, I don't think this is the only issue that could kill the 241 Extension for conservatives. Despite what some people will say, even on this blog, most people in Orange County are not wingnuts. They are just looking for their local government to be responsible... As in fiscally responsible and environmentally responsible. And speaking of responsibility, let's face reality here: This project is NOT RESPONSIBLE in any such way!
After all, conservatives are supposed to like "saving taxpayers' money". However, this project is nothing more than a complete boondoggle that will likely cost taxpayers AT LEAST $875 MILLION! So much for the myth that this toll road won't cost local taxpayers a dime. Oh, and aren't conservatives also supposed to b for the "free market" and "free competition". Well, don't expect any of that from this protected monopoly! Thanks to the non-compete agreement between the state and the TCA, not only will our local government be required to protect the TCA monopoly on South County commuting, but our government will not even be able to FIX OUR FREE ROADS!!! So say goodbye to any of those improvements to the 5 that would also be needed to ease South County traffic.
And yes, even conservatives in South County love the great quality of life here. In fact, they love their life in South OC so much that they fought tooth and nails to prevent a gruesome and unnecessary airport from ever being built. So why would they now want one of their most cherished beaches to be ruined forever, all for a stupid toll road that doesn't even take them to where they want to go?
Now I don't know about you, but I'd certainly call this 241 Extension to San Onofre nothing more than "government waste"!
(Cross-posted at Calitics)