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Keep fighting to stop 710 tunnel

July 07, 2010|By Carol Cormaci

Did you hear about this? On the same day the state's budget deadline came and went without resolution because lawmakers couldn't agree how to clean up a deficit of more than $26 billion, MTA officials were before the California Transportation Commission pushing for permission to move forward on a costly design and environmental impact report phase for the proposed 710 tunnel. 

We learned about it from Assemblyman Anthony Portantino's office, who sent out a news release Thursday after he attended the commission meeting in an attempt to "put the brakes on" the project.

Besides the fact that the state should not be spending money it doesn't have, there are a few things about their request that are disturbing: 

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Traffic through La Canada is about as heavy as we can bear right now. The "Missing Link Truck Study" done for the Arroyo Verdugo sub-region of the Southern California Council of Governments showed that if the 710 gap were to be completed, our city's traffic would become so heavy, the service levels would get an "F" grade for service. An analysis of that report by our city's traffic engineer, Erik Zandvliet, demonstrated that if the tunnel is completed we'd see, by 2030: about 850 more trucks per hour on the 210 than pass through here today; more truck traffic on Foothill Boulevard in La Cañada and gridlock on the freeway where it passes through our city, leading to Foothill operating over capacity at Angeles Crest Highway.

The feds gave MTA/Caltrans $3 million to spend on a thorough, "route-neutral" study. They also had $5 million in MTA funds and $5 million given to them by the California Transportation Commission, but have so far spent only about $7 million. Where's the balance?

Although the report created by Parsons Brinkerhoff sets out to learn whether the tunnel project would be financially, geotechnically or environmentally feasible, none of those fundamental questions are really answered. Portantino and members of our City Council cried foul on the shortcomings as soon as the report was issued, but still the bureaucrats pushed forward.

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