No 710 Action Committee Urges Electrified Rail, Environmental Justice in Regional Transportation Plan 1

The No 710 Action Committee launched objections to funding in the Draft 2012 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) for SR-710 Tunnel proposals and for conventional goods movement projects requiring more freeway construction and more trucks, in an official comment to the Southern California Association of Governments.

The No 710 Action Committee comments on SCAG’s Draft 2012 RTP calls for funding zero-emission + electrified rail projects, and multi-modal transportation alternatives, which will reduce pollution, congestion, environmental and health impacts.

Excerpt from the letter: “We oppose SCAG RTP items associated with proposed SR-710 Toll Tunnels because they will increase pollution, truck traffic, congestion, accidents, health impacts and environmental risks in our communities and throughout the region. We oppose related plan items which have the goals of increasing conventional roadway and rail yard capacity for the same reasons…These approaches are outdated, inefficient, and harmful to the region. Better, zero emission proposals for goods movement are available now – we should not wait another 20 years.”

The letter also objects to inclusion of the BNSF Southern California International Gateway (SCIG) rail yard expansion, saying, “SCIG and related Draft Plan components are part of an overall framework which favors conventional goods movement activities that cause significant pollution and negative impacts in neighboring communities and throughout the region.”

The No 710 Action Committee sent a separate letter commenting on the SCIG environmental impact report as well. Excerpt: “The SCIG project is a mere band-aid and will not greatly improve efficiency of goods movement. It will, however, continue to depend on the obsolete method of container movement by truck…Although it has been stated that there is no room for an on-dock system within the existing stretch of land, the Ports MUST eliminate the practice of transfer by trucks to a nearby yard. This transfer process has been damaging to the communities surrounding the Ports. To increase efficiency and to remain competitive into the future, the Ports MUST completely overhaul the transfer at the docks and load directly from ship to rail.”

The Southern California Association of Governments is accepting public comments on its Draft 2012 Regional Transportation Plan, and on the Draft 2012 RTP Environmental Impact Report, through February 14, 2012. SCAG is also holding a public hearing on the plan for LA County this Thursday, February 2, 2012, in downtown LA.

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