After the success of collecting 34,924 signatures, proponents of Measure T, the Devil's Slide Tunnel Initiative, are taking their message to San Mateo County. "The response has been just fantastic," exclaimed tunnel activist Marty Kingshill. "Folks visiting our information tables are enthusiastic, eager to learn about the issue and very positive about the tunnel solution."
Operating with almost all volunteers, Save Our Coast/Citizens' Alliance for the Tunnel Solution (SOC/CATS) is embarking on an energetic campaign of community outreach. "I've never seen this level of community involvement with a political campaign before" said Lennie Roberts, Chair of Save Our Coast and one of Measure T's authors. "This is an important issue to San Mateo County and people are showing their concern for the coast with amazing dedication and hard work."
Much of the enthusiastic response to Measure T is due to the realization that the long stalemate at Devil's Slide will soon be over. For years, politicians sat on their hands as Caltrans held the coastside hostage to its plan for a 4.5-mile inland freeway bypass around Devil's Slide, stubbornly fighting in court with local citizens and environmentalists while Highway 1 at Devil's Slide continued to deteriorate from neglect. But the emergence of the tunnel alternative in 1995 presented an innovative, safe, reliable and timely solution that Caltrans could not keep ignoring.
A careful look shows that a straight and level tunnel at Devil's Slide would be a superior solution on all fronts. "The freeway bypass is a major boondoggle just waiting to happen" said Chuck Kozak of SOC/CATS. "Redesign and environmental mitigation efforts are going to drive the cost way above the current $90 million, and will add substantially to its permitting and construction time. It'll be a dangerous, steep curving road travelling through the coast's thickest fog bank. It slices a State Park in two and destroys habitat of endangered and threatened species. It has roadbeds of up to 106 feet wide, 200 foot deep cuts, 300 foot high fills. It is a totally inappropriate project for a coastal highway."
The tunnel, on the other hand, has none of these problems. "Though dollar costs are comparable, the savings afforded by the tunnel make it the most cost-effective solution by far," said Zoe Kersteen-Tucker of SOC/CATS. "With the tunnel we save Montara Mountain, McNee Ranch State Park, our scenic coastal vistas and our unique coastal communities. With the tunnel we save these irreplaceable resources for our enjoyment and the enjoyment of generations to come."
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