To consolidate, disseminate, and gather information concerning the 710 expansion into our San Rafael neighborhood and into our surrounding neighborhoods. If you have an item that you would like posted on this blog, please e-mail the item to Peggy Drouet at pdrouet@earthlink.net

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

710 Tunnel Update

From Sylvia Plummer, May 23, 2017


  1.  LA Times Editorial -- Pull the plug on 710 tunnel
The Los Angeles Times published this editorial today (May 23) -- a significant step in acknowledging that the tunnel has no future in the transportation future of Los Angeles.   http://www.latimes.com/opinion/editorials/la-ed-710-tunnel-20170523-story.html
2.  Recent developments in SR 710 
The latest and most significant development occurred at a meeting of Metro’s Ad Hoc Congestion, Highway and Roads Committee meeting last Wednesday.  At that meeting, the decision was made to forward to the entire Metro Board a motion to recommend the Transportation System Management/Transportation Demand Management alternative as the locally-preferred alternative – NOT THE TUNNEL IN EITHER CONFIGURATION (SINGLE- OR DUAL-BORE).  This recommendation was made even though the SR 710 North Study staff reported to Metro that the Single-Bore Tunnel alternative offered the best performance and financial return (a flawed conclusion).  As you will read in the motion, the Committee has come to the realization that the tunnel is not fundable.  We know for a fact that no private partners have come forward with interest in financing and building the tunnel – an indication that the project does not “pencil out” and represents too great a financial risk.  The motion also addresses the disposition of the remainder of the original $780 million from 2008’s Measure R.  This portion of the motion has been somewhat controversial, and we may see modifications of the original motion, or even introduction of an alternate motion  on Thursday .  We believe the Board is poised to act favorably on the committee’s recommendation.  You can view the Board Meeting agenda at:  http://metro.legistar1.com/metro/meetings/2017/5/1210_A_Board_of_Directors_-_Regular_Board_Meeting_17-05-25_Agenda.pdf .  The action is item 29 on the agenda, and the text of the original motion is included as item 29.1.
3.  Call to Action:  Metro Board of Directors to act on committee’s recommendation this Thursday, May 25th.   We need people to attend what may be an historic decision!
9 am
One Gateway Plaza
METRO Board Room - 3rd Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90012

This is a VERY important meeting because the METRO Board will be discussing and voting on a Motion, which, if passed, will be another MAJOR step forward in killing the 710 Freeway Tunnel.
We need you there!!

Speakers will probably be limited to  a 1 minute presentation so if you choose to speak, it is wise to have prepared a statement ahead of time. It is not necessary for all of us to speak but we do  need a real show of support for ending the tunnel.  
We want to continue to demonstrate our commitment to opposing the tunnel and our support for a motion to remove the tunnel by having a large number of the engaged public at the meeting.  Even if you don’t  speak, those who do will be able to point to our group as supporters of their statements.  Optics play an important role.
So – please come and bring your friends and neighbors!
4.  Message from State Senator Anthony Portantino
 Dear Freeway Fighters and Interested 710 Friends,
What an exciting series of events. Clearly, the motion being contemplated for
action Thursday of this week by MTA is a very positive step forward for the Metro
Board and our communities impacted by the threat of the 710 tunnel. Designating
the Transportation System Management/Transportation Demand Management
Alternative as the Locally Preferred Alternative and recommending expenditure of
the Measure R dollars on local projects rather than the tunnel is an effective way
of bringing the 710 tunnel saga to a close.
Is it the perfect solution? Perhaps not. But is it an appropriate solution for the
many of us who have opposed the above‐ and below‐grade 710 freeway
proposals for five decades? I would say a resounding YES! Recognition by the
MTA Board that the tunnel does not enjoy broad local support and is not
economically feasible is a giant leap forward from the time proponents were
exhibiting optimism about breaking ground in 2015, curtailing studies to predetermine
outcomes and fighting the release of the cost benefit analysis. And, for
those who were hoping the final EIR would include the tunnel as the preferred
solution the proposed motion is a significant disappointment.
The many activists and community leaders who championed the NO 710
FREEWAY/TUNNEL cause are to be commended. Those folks who ensured the
failure of Measure J, which included money for the tunnel and the subsequent
success of Measure M, which did not, deserve a healthy pat on the back.
Metro, though long struggling with this project and still containing Board
Members who have sought the completion of the tunnel, is also to be
commended for putting personal feelings aside for a practical and just conclusion.
And, those communities that have long felt that their unique local transportation
needs would benefit from the tunnel should be appreciated for working with
Metro leaders on setting aside their decades’ long passion on the hope that local
mitigating measures funded by Measure R can bring relief to their communities.
In short, there is much for everyone to be cautious about as the detente solution
is finally discussed and passed this week. But, I believe that folks should feel
comfortable supporting the motion being contemplated by MTA this Thursday.
Here are two reasons why: First it is a good‐faith effort to end this situation in a
manner that makes it clear the 710 tunnel is not the preferred alternative. And
second, it is also important to remember that Caltrans will make the final
determination and certification of the Environmental Impact Report. I have been
in almost daily contact with the Department of Transportation for the past six
months and I anticipate a positive conclusion. I also want to reassure everyone
who has trusted my efforts to fight the tunnel, and before that the freeway, that I
am committed to protecting local interests and the right outcome. Although I
have not been touting these months‐long efforts in the news or endeavoring to
make splashy headlines, I have been intimately involved with helping to bring this
issue to its rightful conclusion. I will continue to lead that effort as your State
Senator and two‐decade compatriot in this effort.
Last week, I held a town hall with 710 tenants and Caltrans to help facilitate the
sale of the Caltrans owned houses; while simultaneously my legislation to ensure
the low‐income tax benefits for the Caltrans tenants is on its way to becoming
state law. This necessary tax fix has complete support of the County Assessor and
of Caltrans.
So, in conclusion, I’m optimistic that the rightful outcome is at hand and steadfast
in my resolve to ensure its happens.
Anthony J. Portantino
State Senator, 25th SD