By Dr. Tod A. Burnett
As the leading provider of higher education and training in South Orange County, Saddleback College is dedicated to student success and the health and safety of all of our 40,000 annual students and over 1,500 employees. We play an important role in the community and we remain strongly committed to our local environment, providing valuable environmental education and training programs, implementing sustainable practices on campus, and forging partnerships with environmental organizations.
I was thrilled to hear that on Nov. 10, 2016 the leaders of a coalition of a dozen environmental groups stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA) announcing an historic settlement, ending their 15-year battle over how to connect the 241 Toll Road with the I-5 Freeway. This settlement paves the way for TCA to move forward in an effort to find a mobility solution to the ever-increasing traffic congestion in South Orange County.
I offer my most sincere congratulations, respect, and appreciation to both sides for working toward a solution that balances our region’s transportation needs with environmental protections. This unprecedented collaboration between transportation and environmental leaders seemed impossible, but it is now a reality and all of us in South Orange County and Northern San Diego County will greatly benefit.
The South Orange County and North San Diego County communities should be thankful for the environmental coalition and TCA’s unprecedented collaboration on the 241 Toll Road. Traffic relief and environmental protection are not mutually exclusive, and we look forward to enjoying both.
Dr. Tod A. Burnett is President of Saddleback College and former Vice Chancellor of the California Community Colleges – the nation’s largest higher education system. He previously served as Director of State and Local Government Relations for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, DC and Commissioner on the City of Los Angeles Board of Public Works which managed most of the city’s public infrastructure and vital public safety, health, and environmental programs.