This endorsement of Measure T appeared on the San Francisco Chronicle's editorial page on October 11, 1996.

EDITORIAL -- Yes on T for the Tunnel

AFTER MORE than 30 years of angry debate over how to get around the frangible Devil's Slide section of Highway 1, San Mateo County voters will finally get a chance on the November 5 ballot to settle the argument once and for all with Measure T.

The measure would change the local coastal plan to mandate construction of a 4,000-foot tunnel through San Pedro Mountain to bypass Devil's Slide. It would substitute the tunnel for the Caltrans-supported 4.5-mile Martini Creek bypass that would skirt the mountain and run through McNee State Park.

Except for repair work on Devil's Slide the measure would effectively prohibit any other alternative. In other words, approval of Measure T means a tunnel or nothing.

We have opposed the tunnel option in the past -- and still harbor reservations about the all-or-nothing nature of the measure -- but in recent months we have been persuaded that the environmental benefits of the tunnel outweigh our concerns about delays in construction and financing. We were further convinced that a tunnel would be preferable to the Martini Creek bypass when Caltrans recently released the results of a study that found both projects could be completed for about the same cost -- between $117 million and $131 million.

To residents and businesses along the San Mateo Coast, it is absolutely necessary to have a way to get around Devil's Slide, which often crumbles in the winter rains.

We are confident that Measure T would safeguard the coastal ecology and send a clear message to the appropriate government funding agencies that the people of San Mateo insist on making their own choice when it comes to such an emotional and hard-fought campaign as the one for the Devil's Slide tunnel.

If measure T passes, it will be incumbent on the environmentalists and politicians who so vigorously opposed construction of a bypass highway to put the same energy into obtaining the financing from the state federal governments.

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