Header for US Department of Transportation Blog

You are here

Availability of federal transportation funding to states, counties, and cities is invaluable

Availability of federal transportation funding to states, counties, and cities is invaluable

We're writing to tell you about one of the most important transportation projects in Southern California: the State Route (SR) 710 gap closure.

While Los Angeles County is investing an unprecedented amount expanding our public transit system, we also are making smart highway improvements and nothing is smarter than completing the missing link in our freeway system. This project is envisioned as a freeway tunnel connecting the current northern terminus of SR 710 to SR 210 in the San Gabriel Valley.

We believe the many benefits this project brings will show you that our region is ready to invest in our future.

Photo of daily commuters cutting-through Alhambra
Commuters cutting through Alhambra are a daily feature on area roads.

The project will tackle one of the most vexing problems in Southern California: gridlock. Once completed, the 710 tunnel will slash traffic clogging local streets by 61 percent, reducing 80,000 daily cut-through trips. It also will result in 14,000 fewer car and truck miles driven daily and 17 percent fewer cars and trucks stuck in congestion.

With fewer cars and trucks idling stuck in traffic or taking a longer route to get from point A to point B, the 710 tunnel will remove 2,200 pounds of air pollutants each day. That's about 803,000 pounds annually. This is especially important in Southeast Los Angeles, where 12 out of every 100 children develop asthma.

Photo of kids playing adjacent to cut-through traffic in Alhambra
Kids play adjacent to cut-through traffic in Alhambra.

Finally, at a time of continuing unemployment, the 710 tunnel will create 40,300 construction and related jobs while providing living wages for workers and families, with average earnings of $63,000 per year.

This project also is unique because is includes significant local political and financial support. The SR 710 tunnel was approved by County voters in 2008, including 64 percent in the San Gabriel Valley, as part of a transportation sales tax measure that will provide $780 million in funding toward this project. We are also exploring a public private partnership (P3) to finance and build this project.

But the availability of future federal assistance would be invaluable.

Post new comment

Comments

I believe the 710 closure will bring more cars into Pasadena and Alhambra thus creating more congestion and pollution. In addition, the loss of property that has historical value will add to the blight that is being created by more and more high risers at the expense of family residences. No on 710!!!!

Barbara Messina fails to mention there will be a need for a Public Private Partnership to fully fund the construction of a tunnel. Messina's statements have been recorded on video where she confirms there will be tolls to use the tunnel, but she does not include those facts here. Figures quoted as rational for a tunnel have no basis in reality & cannot be substantiated by those promoting a tunnel. The recent executive reorganization at Metro has decimated all pro 710 tunnel executives. Alhambra has resorted to hiring lobbyists to salvage a project that has become less popular. Only five cities are promoting this project. Nowhere in Measure R is a tunnel ever mentioned, but Messina keeps making statements that voters approved a tunnel.

What are the sources for Councilmember Messina's 'facts'? What about the tolls? Metro/Caltrans estimates a toll of $6-15 per vehicle one way in the tunnel - a tunnel that will have no exits or on ramps in it's 4.5 miles. The only thing to stop traffic is to stop cars, not build more freeways. Better city planning and public transportation will ease congestion, not a freeway tunnel.

Why doesn't the DOT put up a table with the last five or ten years of data on how much each state has collected from the Highway Trust Fund and other programs funded by federal gas taxes along with how much each state has paid in federal gas taxes.