Struggling Economy May Be Trestles Saving Grace

At least there's some good coming out of the in-the-shitter economy. As reported on, the planned toll road extension managers, the TCA, need to raise 1.1 billion dollars to complete their project, which surfers, environmentalists, and the California Coastal Commission oppose. 1.1 billion dollars in this economy? I'm sure even those with a major hard-on for paving paradise have to agree that getting that money is a longshot. Combine that absurd amount of money with the fact that fewer and fewer people are driving on toll roads that are already built and hopefully we are well on our way to Saving Trestles!

Save Trestles, Trestles
Dec. 18 (Bloomberg) — Wall Street's credit crisis may be the death blow for a planned toll-road extension that California surfers have been fighting for 10 years.

Surfers contend that the road would destroy a prime spot for riding waves. They're joined by environmentalists, including the California Coastal Commission, which ruled against the project. Toll-road authorities are appealing to the U.S. Commerce Department to overturn the commission's rejection next month.

Even if that happens, the credit crunch may increase the cost of raising $1.1 billion to build the final link of the Foothill/Eastern toll roads. Plans to sell more bonds in 2010 might be scuttled altogether, said Ken Naehu, who manages $2 billion in fixed income at Bel Air Investment Advisors LLC in Los Angeles.

"It just might not be doable at these levels," he said. "I've seen $150 million bonds that have had a difficult time selling to investors. You can imagine what it would be with another zero added to it."

The Transportation Corridor Agencies, manager of Orange County's toll roads for the state, used toll-backed bonds rather than tax money to finance construction in the 1990s. As more vehicles travel free roads, revenue is missing projections and the bonds' value is declining, threatening their credit ratings.

The agency is seeking a $1.1 billion loan from the U.S. Transportation Department to refinance $4.24 billion of bond debt. Revenue in the year ended June 30 fell 0.9 percent to $193.8 million, 17 percent less than forecast.