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Governor vetoes freeway tunneling bill

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has vetoed a bill that would have eliminated the possibility of constructing a surface route for Interstate 710 to complete the "missing link" of L.A.'s highway system. If he had signed it, a tunnel route would have been the only way to finish that controversial freeway.

Interstate 710 ends at Valley Boulevard at the edge of Alhambra. It doesn't connect to the interchange of the 134 and 210 freeways.

Construction on the 710 began in 1951 but stopped short of completion in 1965 because of South Pasadena residents' assertions that the freeway would divide their community.

As a compromise, transportation officials in recent years introduced the idea of a tunnel -- at least 4 1/2 miles long -- to connect the route. The tunnel bill, SB 545, was written by state Sen. Gil Cedillo (D -Los Angeles).

But in his veto letter, the governor called the bill unnecessary and said Caltrans and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority should be allowed to study various ideas without the restrictions in the bill.

"There is absolutely no need to enact statutory restrictions that would mandate certain project design options or remove others from potential consideration," he said. "In addition, several properties belonging to the state would be subject to sale for less than fair market value as a result of this bill, resulting in the loss to the state of hundreds of millions of dollars."

-- Ari B. Bloomekatz

Comments () | Archives (46)


What a piece of trash and doesn't even say much...but the BIGGIES are:

--Doesn't state that the 545 will set aside the Caltrans-MTA-Fed funded "route neutral" of the 710 Study - so the last few years are tossed out...

--Doesn't state that the Bill says "a tunnel" not "tunnels" so only a single tunnel, thank you, the Law is the Law;

--Doesn't state that Caltrans can keep all the properties until their design is finished and ALL mitigation measures have been constructed;

--Doesn't state that the tunnel will dump the traffic onto the 210 at 4-7pm and the I-10 at 7-10am which are not/will not be happy sites; no interchanges/intersections are located along the tunnel;

--Doesn't state that if you start a portal in Pasadena at Palmetto Dr. the grade can get the road up to the 210 someplace about the north side of North Orange Grove Ave.

--Oh by the way, the original surface freeway was to have five-lanes each way and the single tunnel would only carry 60% of the traffic estimated 20 years ago...maybe the traffic has gone away somewhere...perhaps the I-110 or the I210 eastern extension...

--Toll Tunnel No so fast...$10B capital = >$730M/yr O&M = >$2M/day -- 6lanes x 1200 vehicles/hr x >12 hours/d = say 100,000 = $2M/100K = $20/vehicle each way for 5miles each way...maybe some would use BUT not a JPL engineer ($40/d ROT) really, only trucks BUT maybe that is the sole purpose and it won't help Fremont, Atlantic, or Garfield....

So the great LA Times is just trying to go-along to get-along...where's the Beef? Who are they trying to court??

Tom Williams

Has the Governor ever made it over to South Pasadena to see what Caltrans is proposing? A freeway or a tunnel would destroy the community. Caltrans definitely should sell the properties that the agency acquired decades ago. Those properties were family homes and now they sit abandoned. Shame on the agency for trying to pave over South Pasadena. The audacity!

The Governor proves, once again, he's an idiot?

Good work, governor! Leave the planning and engineering decisions to the planners and engineers. When their hands get tied by silly rulings handed down by politicians, how can anyone expect a useful project to result?

His veto was a good move, but in all likelihood, South Pasadena will win and a tunnel will be built.

"In addition, several properties belonging to the state would be subject to sale for less than fair market value as a result of this bill, resulting in the loss to the state of hundreds of millions of dollars."

We are talking about the state of California, are we not? How could losing "hundreds of millions of dollars" on state owned property suddenly be a concern?

I support the veto. As I told the governor in my email that this bill would not stop residents of South Pasadena to file lawsuits to stop the tunnel. I have no doubt that the residents of South Pasadena will do anything and everything to stop the completion of the 710 Freeway. Its time that the government do what it has to do to get this missing link completed. Build the missing link at ground level with the property that it already owns and take more property if needed.

Someone remind me why South Pasadena is more special than any other community that has had a freeway come through.

Yes, thank you Arnold. The people of South Pasadena use the freeways, they just don't want one in their neighborhood. They've been planning this for decades, and it's a long way from ever being built. So if you don't like the idea... move away! We don't need to fund a ridiculous 4 mile long tunnel for a bunch of NIMBYs.

At last we have proof: once in a while the Governor does something that makes sense.

I live in Pasadena proper. There is not freeway access except to the 210 and the 110. We have to travel on surface streets at rush hour. The town is congested and unwelcoming due to our traffic problems. Financially, Pasadena businesses need this freeway completed. Traffic is accumulating by the minute and adversely affecting South Pasadena as well. The people impeding this project just don't want their property values to be effected. They are wealthy people who don't care about anything but their own pockets! I'm sure they gave the Governor plenty of contributions too.

We should nuke South Pasadena and pave the whole place after the fallout settles.

Hey kids, look at all the NIMBYs bad mouthing the governor.

You just have to love the lengths people will go to protect their selfish interests (Hmm, I wonder if we replaced the term "community" with "property values" to see what their real concern is), at the expense of the region as a whole, especially the communities around South Pasadena that have to suffer because of their intransigence.

Just curious, how does the tunnel destroy the community?

The good people of South Pasadena have used their money and influence to stall a desperately needed project for almost 50 years.
While keenly aware and respectful of their own community, they have felt no concern over the impact on Alhambra nor the needs of surrounding communities.
Now these sublimely egalitarian folk wish everyone in the State to pay for an exorbitantly expensive tunnel. Fine! Put your money where your mouth is! Raise the funds from amongst yourselves for the cost of that tunnel!
What's that? Only the little people should pay to preserve your bit of paradise?

Its nice to see that the wealthy prevail again! I think Alhambra should just close Freemont and Atlantic to prove a point, just like they have done before. Governor, thanks for more traffic.

Finally, the governor makes a good decision. No need for the legislature to intervene on a planning issue that affects the entire region not just one community that can try to use political influence to prevent something that is necessary.

The Governor proves, once again, he's a strong leader who doesn't crumble under special interest. And once again, opponents of finishing the 710 prove themselves selfish idiots who can't see beyond their windows.

First, I agree that at this juncture, the 710 project should be DOA. The nimby's won. That said, every single person who bought in or around the 710 project for the past 30yrs new darn well that the freeway project could happen at any time, so should the project actually happen, it's their own stupid fault for buying a house in an area with an impending freeway expansion. It's like people in Burbank or by LAX who complain about the airport noise.

I looked at a nice townhome in S.Pas in '03 and took an immediate pass when the agent disclosed right away it was in the 710 zone. To all those who didn't, well, you took a gamble and probably will win, but might not. No one forced you to close escrow on a house that might some day be 20ft from a freeway, you knew that all along.

Again, given the cost, disruption to S.Pas, and reality that the last thing the area needs is another eight lanes of gridlock, let's give up on the 710 expansion for once and for all. But for people in S.Pas who moved to the area after 1965, give us a break, who in their right mind buys a house in a potential freeway construction zone?

I'm certainly not surprised. Once again, Arnold has demonstrated how obtuse his logic is.

I don't see the concerns in how a tunnel would disrupt a community above, as Lysette mentioned. We've come a long way since the Stone Age...

When will this all end. The tunnel option is probably the best option and with the air cleaning systems that would be needed to clear the auto fumes (such as those used in other major cities around the world, check boston) the impact would be minimal. The major impact would be the construction of course but that comes with the business. What many people dont get especially, Alhambra (by the way, the freeway would never cross that city how convenient is that), and other cities who want the extension is that the connector at the 134/210 will be just as busy with lots of traffic, all you have to do is check all the connectors in the southland during the day and how busy they are with traffic especially rush hour times. What should have been done is extend the freeway from where it ends at Valley Blvd just a short distance to Huntingon Dr. Huntington is a major east west artery with multiple lanes in each direction. How simple is that. But the bottom line is i doubt anyone will ever learn that freeays are not a good transportation option, more light rail should be planned and built.

Ok, but let's build a freeway connecting brentwood with Santa Monica, it's so congested in that area.

Let's tunnel in brentwood?

Anyone who can read a map can see that there alternatives to extending the 710 freeway without bisecting South Pasadena. Why, with almost single-minded determination, has Caltrans ruled out alternatives to splitting the city in half?

Cedillo should stick to failing on immigration issues -- not getting drivers licenses for lawbreaking illegal immigrants.

I hate when the actions of a few could directly imapact the lives of so many residents as a whole. We share the 2nd largest metro area in the country, and we all chose to live here?! South Pasadena residents should be ashamed for sticking it to cities like Alhambra all these years. But I guess that's what money buys you in this world.

The audacity is the arrogance of the South Pasadena residents that have made a mountian out of a mole hill for 50yrs. They hold the entire LA basin ransome. First it was cutting the community in half, then for 20 years the historic nature of the community, now we are back to the original battle cry (cutting the community in half).

Instead of a trillion dollar 4.5 mile tunnel for the free way. How 'bout we put a tunnel or bridge under or over the freeway in a few places. I heard the invented these things for use in traversing a freeway so they don't distrube the flow of traffic in the community.

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