Some good news

From Surfline:


In a recent committee meeting, the Transportation Corridor Agency (TCA) announced an unexpected change in plans – the targeted start date for the 241-Toll Road extension has been postponed from 2008 to 2010, at the earliest. William Woollett, the agency’s CEO, explained that the decision was made in light of expected delays in obtaining permits from the US Fish & Wildlife Service and the California Coastal Commission.

The announcement was welcomed by the Save Trestles campaign, a Surfrider spearheaded group organized to protect the world-class break.

“It was definitely a surprise,” said Surfrider’s Communications Director, Matt McClain. “We kind of knew that the TCA had some difficulties ahead of them in terms of securing some of the permits, but to hear them acknowledge that was surprising.”

The potential road-builders acknowledged slowed court proceedings, too. Both the California Attorney General’s Office and the Native American Heritage Foundation have taken legal action against the TCA to preserve the area. Surfrider, with coalition partners the Natural Resources Defense Council and Sierra Club, has also filed a suit and currently awaits a decision on the court location.

Postponement comes one year after the TCA approved a plan to construct the extension of the 241 through an area that includes the San Mateo Creek watershed, campground, and the Donna O’Neill Land Conservancy. The decision seemed insurmountable at the time and even Trestles’ die-hard supporters found little reason to remain optimistic. So, what has changed?

“Now we know for sure what we’re up against and what we have to fight,” said McClain. “[The announcement] proves this campaign is far from over and…it’s still definitely very winnable.”

McClain and his co-workers are using the growing enthusiasm to the campaign’s benefit. While the TCA’s strength is becoming increasingly unconvincing, Surfrider is looking to beef up; the organization recently determined that the time is ripe to make a key hire. If all goes according to plan, they will add their first campaign-specific coordinator for Save Trestles by summer – a plan designed to increase public awareness and support, and put even more pressure on the state’s decision-makers and TCA.

And so, Trestles enthusiasts can enjoy their surf haven undisturbed by the sprawl of the city for at least a little longer. But McClain offers a strong reminder: “There’s a lot of work ahead of us.”

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