The Federal Highway Administration last week gave final approval to the Eastern Transportation Corridor when officials signed a record of decision documenting approval of the north and east legs of the 23-mile toll way project located in Orange County.

"The record of decision is the last step finalizing the federal environmental review for the project, and allows the project to proceed through construction," Scott Diehl, chairman of the Foothill/Eastern Transportation Corridor Agency, said in a statement.

The decision gives the green light to proceed with the issuance next spring of an estimated $1.4 billion of toll revenue bonds to fund construction of the project.

Construction of the toll way is planned to begin in early 1996, and the entire project is scheduled to open to traffic in late 1999.

The Foothill/Eastern Transportation Corridor Agency is a joint powers authority formed between Orange County and 10 cities to plan, design, finance, construct, and operate the Foothill and Eastern transportation corridors.

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