From WILL PARRISH
On May 7th, Caltrans goes hat-in-hand to the California Transportation Commission (CTC), which allocates funding for California transportation infrastructure projects, to request $30.986 million for the wetlands and riparian areas “mitigation” plans that I describe in the adjoining story. The CTC’s 11 esteemed board members, most of them members of California’s elite business circles with financial stakes in the real estate, construction, and transportation industries, are convening in Los Angeles to deliberate on 166 agenda items over the course of four hours.
Although one of the conditions of CalTrans’ Clean Water Act permit with the Army Corps of Engineers for the Willits Bypass is that it cannot begin construction before securing all mitigation funding, the Army Corps granted Big Orange an exemption to that condition. So that CalTrans could begin destroying trees and vegetation starting in February, the Army Corps merely required that CalTrans provide them a written “assurance” that the CTC would vote in its favor next Tuesday.
Whatever form the assurance took, it was probably superfluous. The CTC’s clearly established record is to rubber-stamp everything that comes before it, excepting rare instances where influential officials intervene in advance of the meetings.