Published : Tuesday, June 20, 2017 | 5:56 AM
The City of Rosemead has decided to hire a law firm to analyze legal issues related to the State Route 710 Project, an indication that the city still wants to pursue the tunnel alternative to the freeway extension, much of which will have to be constructed in Pasadena’s and South Pasadena’s jurisdiction if it does proceed.
The matter of entering into a contract with the law firm Blank Rome, LLP was discussed last month during a Rosemead City Council special meeting, where the issue of what would happen to the $780 million funds allocated specifically for the 710 tunnel project under Measure R, was brought up.
An unanimous vote by the Rosemead City Council on May 30 authorized the Rosemead City Manager to enter into an agreement with Blank Rome LLP to help the city analyze options, after the Metro Board of Directors decided on May 25 to eliminate the tunnel option in the 710 project and to instead focus on local traffic mitigation measures to close the gap.
In a statement released by the 710 Coalition after the Metro vote, Rosemead City Councilmember Steven Ly said Measure R specifically allocated funds for the tunnel project.
“Let’s not deviate from the will of the voters,” Ly said. “That money should stay in the San Gabriel Valley.”
In the same statement, Alhambra Mayor Dave Mejia said they are “disappointed, particularly because Metro’s analysis concluded that the tunnel is the best option.”
“This has been a long battle but we’re not tired,” Mejia, a member of the 710 Coalition, added. “Our number one priority is to provide relief to our communities and we will keep fighting to make sure our cities get the support and resources we need to reduce congestion on our streets.”
In the vote on May 25, Metro said it supports the adoption of the Transportation System Management/Transportation Demand Management (TSM/TDM) alternative as the locally preferred alternative to the 710 extension project.
Metro’s board also decided to request the allocation on $105 million in Measure R funds available for the Interstate 710 North Gap Closure (tunnel) Project” for development and implementation of TSM/TDM projects listed in the project’s Environmental Impact Report.
A report on Pasadena Star-News said State Sen. Anthony Portantino (D-La Canada Flintridge), who has been opposing the tunnel option, plans to meet with state transportation leaders next week to discuss how the local transportation needs of the communities along the 710 corridor will be addressed, “now that the tunnel is dead.”
Members of the No 710 Action Committee are also asking Gov. Jerry Brown, Transportation Secretary Brian Kelly and Caltrans to pronounce the tunnel alternative as dead so the state could continue on other viable alternatives, the report said.