Legislation to Protect San Clemente from Toll Road Extension Will Not Advance in 2020

Friday, July 17, 2020

Senator Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel) announced today that the California State Assembly’s Transportation Committee will not consider her Senate Bill 1373 that would have protected open space and ensured that no toll road extension will go through the City of San Clemente.

The committee advised that it will only hear legislation related to COVID-19 for the rest of the 2020 legislative session that will end on August 31. COVID-19 has forced the Legislature to reduce in-person bill hearings and floor sessions.

“Although I am disappointed that there is not enough time in the 2020 legislative session to hear SB 1373 and other bills pending in the Assembly, it is understandable that the Legislature must focus on immediate public health, public safety, and economic needs,” said Senator Bates. “South Orange County residents can rest assured that I will continue to fight for transportation solutions that benefit our entire region.”

The Senate approved SB 1373 on a bipartisan 24 to 6 vote on June 26. The bill would have removed from state law a highway alignment that state and regional transportation agencies have abandoned due to its significant environmental and economic costs.

On March 12, 2020, the Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA) – which oversees Orange County’s toll roads – announced that it was no longer considering extending State Route 241 that would cut through San Clemente. However many San Clemente residents remain concerned that absent state legislation, there is nothing preventing future reconsideration of the abandoned option. Senator Bates intends on introducing a new version of SB 1373 next year.

Due to the Legislature’s focus for the rest of the 2020 session on priorities such as COVID-19 response, economic recovery, and wildfire-related issues, Senator Bates also announced that the bills she authored below will not be heard in the Assembly this year:

  • Senate Bill 283: This bill would have helped law enforcement understand and quantify the causes behind fatal collisions by expanding current law to require drug testing in cases of death that occur within 48 hours of a collision.
  • Senate Joint Resolution 11: This measure would urge the federal government to implement the prompt and safe relocation of spent nuclear fuel from facilities such as the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station to safer and more secure facilities away from heavily populated regions.

Senator Bates plans on reintroducing these bills next year.