Portantino bill killing plans to complete 710 signed by Newsom

SB 7, authored by Sen. Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge) and recently passed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, ends a decadeslong debate over potentially connecting terminal endpoints of the 710 Freeway.
(File Photo)

After inspiring decades of criticism from locals concerned with congestion and excess vehicle emissions, the prospect of closing the 710 Freeway gap between Alhambra and Pasadena, and the suggestion of building a tunnel to do so, have become a legislative impossibility.

Gov. Gavin Newsom recently signed SB-7, a bill authored by state Sen. Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge) which removes the gap from the state’s freeway system and eliminates an underground tunnel as a feasible option in any future consideration of the matter.

The bill also allows city entities and nonprofit tenants residing at properties along the 710 corridor, currently owned by Caltrans, to purchase their properties at fair market value or value in use, whichever is the lesser of the two.

In a release issued Sunday, Portantino thanked Newsom and former Gov. Jerry Brown for working with legislators to amend the bill so it could carry out its promise to finally quash proposals for building out the 710 corridor without interfering with plans by the city of Pasadena to develop lands around its freeway endpoint.

“Many people worked collaboratively to get us to this place, giving moral support for those of us in office and providing the runway to let this 60-year-old plane land,” the senator said in the release. “Generations who have been fighting this freeway can now rest in peace knowing they made this day happen and that he 710 Freeway will never be completed.”

Jan SooHoo, a La Cañada resident who advocated against a tunnel through the local No 710 Action Committee said in an email to her fellow “freeway fighters” Monday that passage of Portantino’s bill eliminates the lingering concern that the tunnel could be brought back to life if the estimated $6 billion needed to fund it were ever to be identified.

“It has been a complicated process — two governors, two state secretaries of transportation and multiple Caltrans officials were involved — but the senator persisted,” SooHoo wrote. “I hope you will take the time to thanks Senator Portantino for his long history of fighting the extension of the 710 and to congratulate him on his successful legislative campaign.”