Bills eye 710 Freeway gap project

Criticizing the potential construction of a 4.5-mile, $5.6-billion tunnel to extend the 710 Freeway as "a misguided and obsolete solution" to a regional transportation problem, state Sen. Chris Holden (D-Pasadena) recently introduced a measure that would scrap those plans in favor of greener options.

Introduced to the state Assembly last Thursday, AB 287 aims to create an "I-710 Gap Corridor Transit Zone Advisory Committee" comprising representatives from Pasadena, South Pasadena, Alhambra and Los Angeles, the Department of Transportation and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, along with state legislators.

According to a release issued by Holden last week, the committee would review a range of traffic-calming scenarios — including green space and mass-transit options — for the freeway's 6.2-mile gap and recommend a viable, community-supported solution to the Department of Transportation. The bill specifically prohibits the department from constructing a freeway tunnel between the I-210 and I-10 freeways.

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Meanwhile, on the same day, state Sen. Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge) introduced SB 275 to give the Los Angeles County Assessor's Office the ability to assess single-family homes within the 710 corridor at the levels on par with their valuation at time of purchase by Caltrans, as opposed to what their valuation would be in today's market, so current occupants hoping to purchase the properties would not be priced out of the process.

Portantino said in a statement last Thursday practical legislation was imperative to help properly dispose of the homes purchased by Caltrans in anticipation of closing the 1-710 Freeway gap in an affordable manner.

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Sara Cardine, sara.cardine@latimes.com

Twitter: @SaraCardine

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