Bill Introduced by Holden Designed to Kill 710 Tunnel

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Assemblyman Chris Holden, whose 41st District represents South Pasadena, continues to make efforts to kill the proposed 710 tunnel.

Holden invited a group of No 710 activists to a meeting at the Pasadena Women’s City Club last week to discuss his proposed Assembly Bill 287. The bill would remove the segment of 710 Freeway from Route 10 to the 210 from the state Streets and Highway Code. It also declares that the department shall not implement a 710 freeway tunnel or surface freeway between 10 and 210.

In addition, it creates a committee to study the 710 North Project area for solutions to congestion and adverse environmental conditions.

His bill came before the Transportation Committee of the state Assembly on Monday, but did not receive enough votes to move it on to the Appropriations Committee. The bill received two positives votes and 1 vote against it. It needs eight votes in support to get it out of committee. South Pasadena City Manager Sergio Gonzalez said the bill will most-likely go back to the Transportation Committee next Monday for reconsideration.

Holden said he will continue to work to get the votes. He has also been speaking to L.A. County Supervisors and Metro Board members seeking their support. Metro Board members in May are scheduled meeting to oppose, support, or take no position on the proposed bill. “He feels that these entities do not favor the creation of the tunnel,” explained Bill Sherman, a South Pasadena resident and longtime freeway fighter. “He feels that Caltrans senior leadership does not favor the tunnel. His bill attempts to align this local issue with state mandates for decreasing greenhouse gasses and combating climate change.”

Pasadena Mayor Terry Tornek, in Sacramento on Monday, stressed that the momentum is against tunnel construction and asked 710 Freeway opponents to keep the pressure on to stop it.

Holden requested the help of those in Sacramento to contact state Assembly Transportation Committee members and encourage them to support SB 287. He was joined on stage by Tornek, South Pasadena Council member Marina Khubesrian and a representative from the Natural Resources Defense Council when he made his presentation to the Transportation Committee seeking their support for the bill he authored.

Khubesrian spoke on Monday at the request of Holden and represented not only the City of South Pasadena but also a group calling itself “Connected Cities and Communities,”including, the cities of Pasadena, South Pasadena, Glendale, La Canada, Sierra Madre and the Natural Resources Defense Council and National Trust for Historic Preservation.

“We look forward to working with Assemblymember Holden and all our representatives in Sacramento and on the Metro Board to redirect resources and efforts away from a car tunnel and toward finding a viable 21st Century proven solutions to the real problems of bottlenecks and poor transit access for the communities in our region,” said Khubesrian.

Holden and a coalition of city councilmembers, community leaders, and non-profit organizations gathered outside Mission Street Metro Station in February to announce the introduction of AB 287, which the lawmaker says finds a solution to the 710 corridor gap between the I-10 and I-210 freeways and prohibits the construction of a freeway tunnel.

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