Legislation proposed by Assemblyman Chris Holden would establish a committee to talk about alternatives to extending the 710 (Long Beach) Freeway but bar any discussion on plans to build a 6.3-mile tunnel to connect the 710 with the 210 (Foothill) Freeway in Pasadena.
The Pasadena Democrat’s Assembly Bill 287 would force the state Department of Transportation (Caltrans) to establish the I-710 Gap Corridor Transit Study Zone Advisory Committee.
If approved, the committee would focus on alternatives considered in the State Route 710 North Draft Environmental Impact Review and other transit options to improve travel in the area known as the 710 Corridor.
In the 1950s and early ’60s, Caltrans seized more than 500 homes in western Pasadena, South Pasadena and the El Sereno neighborhood of Los Angeles, which the agency planned to raze to make way for a connector route from the 710 to the 210. However, no sooner was the overland route finally scrapped a few years ago than state and regional transit leaders devised a backup plan: build the connector underground at a cost of up to $12 billion.
Holden’s bill specifically prohibits Caltrans from constructing a freeway tunnel between the Santa Monica (10) Freeway in Alhambra and the 210 and bars members from proposing, discussing or recommending the tunnel project.
“With billions of state dollars at stake and no hard evidence pointing to traffic relief for the San Gabriel Valley, it is clear that building a freeway tunnel is not a prudent option,” Holden said during a press conference held last week at the Gold Line station in South Pasadena. “California’s landmark climate legislation, which mandates the rapid reduction of our greenhouse gas emissions, makes clear that the I-710 North tunnel project is a misguided and obsolete solution.”
Last year, the proposed 710 tunnel project made the list of the Top 12 most wasteful highway expansion projects across the country, according to a report issued by the California Public Interest Research Group (CalPIRG) Education Fund.