Commerce Dept. nixes OC's 241 toll road

SAN CLEMENTE, Calif. The /*U.S. Department of Commerce*/ said there was a reasonable alternate route for the proposed /*241 toll road*/. The agency also disputed that building the road was vital to national security, which highway proponents had argued.

The decision upholds a ruling by the /*California Coastal Commission*/ against the 16-mile road after opponents argued it would harm endangered species at /*San Onofre State Park*/ and block sediment flows that create famous surf breaks at a beach called /*Trestles*/.

"Hooray, hooray, hooray! I'm so delighted," said state Treasurer Bill Lockyer, who sued to stop the toll road twice in his former post as state attorney general. "It's a great victory for California."

The /*Transportation Corridor Agencies*/ chairman Jerry Amante said he was shocked and disappointed. He said the agency would not decide on further legal action before a Jan. 8 board meeting.

"This decision is another blow to the Southern California economy, Amante said. "We are now destined for gridlock and increased greenhouse emissions."

The toll authority had argued the $1.3 billion road would play a key role in national security by providing an alternative to Interstate 5 if there is a wildfire or accident at the nearby San Onofre nuclear power plant.

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