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Schiff sends MTA a letter slamming the 710 tunnel

September 20, 2012
  • Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) sent a letter to regional transportation officials on Thursday, Sept. 20, 2012, opposing the proposal to build a 4.5-mile tunnel connecting the Long Beach (710) Freeway in Alhambra to the Foothill (210) Freeway in Pasadena.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) sent a letter to regional… (Tim Berger/Staff…)

The following is the text of the letter Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) sent to the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority on Sept. 20, 2012, opposing a tunnel extending the Long Beach (710) Freeway to Pasadena:

Dear Chairman Antonovich and Metro Board Members,

As you know, last month Metro released the final five options it will consider throughout the environmental review process for the “710 North Gap Closure Project.”  After considering the strong community concerns expressed over the impact of a tunnel, and in light of the dramatically escalating and uncertain costs that would be incurred in its construction, I urge Metro to remove this option from consideration at the next appropriate stage in the review process.

Many years ago, when Metro first proposed that a tunnel may provide a solution to the decades long fight over the 710 freeway, I supported a technical study to determine whether a tunnel was feasible so that the community could explore the full range of options.  Metro represented at that time that because of the advancement of tunneling technology, it may be possible to construct a tunnel at little more than the cost of building a freeway at-grade or for about one and a half billion dollars.  Metro also believed that a strong community consensus would emerge to support such a concept, if it made the case to the public. Neither claim would prove to be correct. 

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Several years later, we know that although a tunnel is technologically feasible, it is cost prohibitive.  Metro has refused to release an accurate figure on the cost of a tunnel, but it is safe to say that its original estimate is off by many billions of dollars.  In any event, this is money we do not have and are not likely to obtain, and it would be a disservice to the community to invest substantial sums towards a project that may never be completed while forgoing more immediate traffic improvements that could do much to mitigate traffic and pollution now. 

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