ORANGE COUNTY, CA – Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley authored an op-ed in the Orange County Register calling for fellow elected leaders to act and implement long-term solutions to address coastal erosion in Orange County.
This op-ed comes on the heels of Metrolink suspending the service lines between Laguna Niguel/Mission Viejo and Oceanside, and Amtrak suspending service for their Pacific Surfliner trains between Irvine and San Diego due to coastal erosion impacting the train tracks along the San Clemente area. Following the service suspensions, the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) Board approved a $12 million project to construct ground anchors to stabilize the sliding movement near the tracks.
See key excerpts from the op-ed below:
For years residents, surfers, and business owners voiced concerns as warning signs increased off our eroding coast. Their warnings went ignored. Now, commuter trains are shut down and our train tracks are dangerously close to falling into the ocean.
At Monday’s emergency OCTA meeting immediately following the closure, we approved $12 million to install ground anchors to stabilize the sliding movement near the tracks. Assuming all goes well, we estimate this will take 30-45 days. This short-term fix will not be enough to stop the ocean.
The impacted tracks are a part of the Los Angeles – San Diego (LOSSAN) Corridor, the second busiest corridor of its type in the country that annually transports over 8.3 million passengers and moves over $1 billion in goods.
This section is designated by the Department of Defense as a national defense rail corridor due to its proximity to Camp Pendleton and the Ports of Los Angeles, Long Beach, and San Diego. Last year, the US Army transported dozens of tanks through this corridor aboard a quarter mile stretch of rail cars from Texas to the Port of San Diego to be redeployed overseas. During a national security crisis, or local emergency, this infrastructure is critical to protect our country at home and abroad.
The day before Metrolink and Amtrak announced its suspension of service, I hosted a Sustainability Summit at Orange Coast College with local leaders in government, science, and business.
Our coastal erosion panel featured Dr. Brett Sanders, professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UC Irvine, who highlighted our shrinking beaches and coastline. He proposed policies focused on sand replenishment, shoreline stabilization, reducing cliff erosion, and increasing sediment supplies from local creeks and streams. These are just some of the recommendations we should work with scientists and experts to explore.
Let’s not repeat history: the cost of inaction is too high.
We must explore long term solutions such as track alternatives and improvements to the resilience of our rail system — along with protection of our beaches, harbors, and coastal communities.
The cost of continuing to do nothing is too great for our neighborhoods, economy, national security, and way of life.
Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley was elected to the Board of Supervisors in 2021 to represent Costa Mesa, Cypress, Huntington Beach, La Palma, Los Alamitos, Newport Beach, Seal Beach, Stanton, the unincorporated area of Rossmoor, and portions of Buena Park and Fountain Valley. Following redistricting, the Board appointed her to additionally serve as caretaker for the future District 2, which includes the communities of Santa Ana and portions of Anaheim, Garden Grove, Orange, Tustin, and unincorporated North Tustin.
Supervisor Foley serves on the Airport Ad Hoc Committee & Fly Friendly working group, the Sober Living Home Ad Hoc Committee, and boards of the Orange County Transportation Authority, CalOptima, Juvenile Justice Coordinating Council, Law Library, Newport Bay & South Orange County Watershed Management Area Executive Committees & the Santa Ana River Flood Control Protection.