Under the Paperweight: 710 Tunnel, Liu Now Opposes, Najarian Speaking Tonight, Metro Meeting Tomorrow

The 710 extension study (to the north) and expansion plan (to the south) are major news items recently, as residents, businesses, and community groups from Long Beach to La Canada continue to speak out against them in force. Yesterday, State Senator Carol Liu came out against a 710 tunnel, and detailed her objections in a letter to the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Agency (Metro). Her letter also mentions the I-710 lane expansion draft environmental impact report. Links below to her press release, letter, and many recent articles:

Sen. Liu asks METRO Board to drop tunnel option for State Route 710 Gap Closure – September 25, 2012

Senator Liu’s letter to the METRO Board – September 25, 2012. Excerpt: “…the cities and communities I represent have made it clear that they oppose the tunnel…my understanding is that the tunnel is being designed to accommodate trucks. This is but one more reason why I oppose the tunnel alternative. Further, with the North and South 710 project environmental impact analyses being conducted separately, the cumulative impacts of truck traffic are not being adequately considered.

Assembly member Anthony Portantino’s letter to the Chair, California Transportation Commission and Director, Caltrans – August 22, 2012 – Excerpts: “The impetus for this project is based on 1950s planning, not contemporary goods and people movement ideas of the 21st century.” “Proponents of this project have repeatedly tried to circumvent local control by misusing the legislative process.” “”Local transportation agencies are expending millions of dollars on a project of historic magnitude without even knowing how much the project will cost and how many cars will use it.” “This project has been suggested as a Public Private Partnership. How can such an option even be contemplated without knowing the cost, benefit and use?”

Schiff Sends MTA a letter slamming the 710 tunnelGlendale News Press – September 20, 2012 (article and full text of letter online only) – Excerpt: “The tunnel will not reduce traffic congestion in the region; instead it appears that a tunnel will only expose surrounding communities to more disturbances and harmful pollutants…the community has rightly expressed profound concerns over the cost of the project. While the project was originally estimated to cost approximately $1.5 billion, a 2011 study estimated it would cost $2.8 billion and now the Measure R extension expenditure plan believes it will cost $5.6 billion. How costly will it be in another year? Or two? Or ten?…Metro has not provided any information to taxpayers indicating that estimates of expected private funding sources are sound. I am deeply concerned that taxpayers could be left picking up the full tab”

Outcry Against 710 Tunnel Plan for Southern California: Ara Najarian Featured at Two Community MeetingsAsbarez, Wednesday, September 19, 2012 – This article features Glendale Council member Ara Najarian’s comments at a September 18 Pasadena forum on the 710 Tunnel. Najarian will also be a featured panelist at a South Pasadena-sponsored forum tonight, September 26, at South Pasadena High School (see no710.com for details).

Several other elected officials, and entire city councils, are against the tunnel proposal, and four mayors and other officials will be holding a press conference Thursday, September 27, at 8:00 a.m. just ahead of the 9 a.m. Metro board meeting.

The 710: Spine of LA Freeway system and its missing link – September 23, 2012 – The Daily News, Long Beach Press Telegram, San Bernardino County Sun, Pasadena Star News, Daily Breeze, San Gabriel Valley Tribune and other outlets of the Los Angeles Newspaper group all carried this comprehensive article which covers both the north 710 tunnel and the south 710 lane expansion controversies and makes clear the bottom-line issues: trucks, goods movement, and congestion on local freeways. Metro’s The Source blog mentions it, saying “the real issue being debated is this: can we ever improve freeway performance or is it all for naught because new roads tend to quickly fill up with traffic?”

Should LA Spend $3.5 Billion to Extend the 710 Freeway to Pasadena?California High Speed Rail Blog – September 24, 2012 – Excerpt: “It’s not at all clear to me that the 710 extension is a good use of money. Investments in new transportation infrastructure in California ought to be focused on rail, for both passengers and freight. It’s time to stop wasting billions on freeway lanes that will just get clogged with cars while the need to invest in clean, reliable, fast passenger rail continues to grow.”

Mentioned yesterday, but worth repeating as the September 27 petition deadline is upon us: Support Community Alternative 7 for the I-710 Freeway Project Physicians for Social Responsibility – Excerpt: “Given the magnitude and national significance of the project, and the life-long impact that the 18 communities residing along the project will experience, the EIR should include a more comprehensive approach to the project’s design by analyzing other modes of reducing traffic congestion…”