On March 12, the Coronado Tunnel Commission (CTC) — a group formed to seek funding for construction of an underground tunnel to ease the town’s traffic congestion — held a meeting at the Coronado Police Department.
The tunnel, which would target naval employee traffic, would extend from the bridge to North Island. West portal design options will be submitted to Caltrans next week, said Brian Pearson, a consultant for Parsons Brinckerhoff.
The Navy, which supports “4B3” (an alternative plan that would locate the portal off base), will also review the plans. Jim Benson, Coronado assistant city manager, said Caltrans, the project’s lead agency, is now “agreeing that 4B3 has some negative impacts.” The plans give the Navy 30 days to respond. If there is no “significant response” from the Navy, Pearson said, “the document will be accepted as submitted.”
A final draft report on tolling, to be submitted to the city council on April 7, “will not be provided to the council in advance of presentation,” Pearson said. The project won’t get support without tolling, he stressed. Tolling “is a linchpin to the whole tunnel process.”
Three members of the public attended the meeting, including 2008 mayoral candidate Barbara Denny, an environmental lawyer who has opposed the tunnel as “an extravagant waste of public funds.” But Denny strongly favors tolls, calling herself “the mother of bringing them back.”
“We’re leaving all options open,” including federal funding, said Benson, citing the 130-million-dollar piece of stimulus for transportation for San Diego County. However, Benson cautioned, “Let me put that in perspective — an interchange will cost you a hundred million.”