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710 tunnel could devastate the region

September 29, 2010|By Assemblyman Anthony J. Portantino

Today, the city of La Cañada Flintridge is under the direct threat of increased traffic congestion and air pollution from the proposed completion of the 710 Freeway. Caltrans and MTA are proposing to move forward with the scoping and environmental study of a tunnel as an alternative to a surface-routed 710.

Despite ardent calls from the La Cañada Flintridge City Council and my office to slow this process, freeway proponents plan to charge ahead, potentially before even January. It is imperative that we continue to advocate for a valid cost-benefit analysis before hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars are wasted on a tunnel project that will be a financial disaster and devastate Northeast Los Angeles, South Pasadena, Pasadena, La Crescenta, Glendale and La Cañada Flintridge. Residents interested in helping to stop the 710 can sign up on Facebook (NO 710 Freeway Tunnel), or contact Jan Soohoo at jan@soohoos.org or (818) 952-4103. Additional information can be garnered from Julianne from my office and Ann Wilson at LCF City Hall. Get involved now before it's too late to stop this train wreck.

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How did we get here, and what has La Cañada Flintridge been doing about it?

During the 1998 special election for a seat on our city council, former Los Angeles Fire Chief Don Manning was the first to highlight the 710 as a serious issue to be addressed. Upon being elected to the city council a year later, I requested we take a formal position to support an alternative to extending the 710 freeway. Today, the La Cañada Flintridge City Council continues to be a strong opponent of both the surface route and the tunnel extensions.

The 710 Freeway is a 50-year old transportation policy that fails to consider how the economy, workforce habits and transportation needs have all dramatically changed. In 2005, the Federal Highway Administration decertified the environmental impact report for the surface route and rescinded the record of decision, essentially deleting the freeway from the federal highway program. South Pasadena, Pasadena and La Cañada were all approached by the MTA, Caltrans and the Southern California Association of Governments and asked to entertain a tunnel option. South Pasadena and Pasadena took no formal position on the tunnel and voted not to oppose sound research of a tunnel option.

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