Far-Reaching Bill Laying Foundation for State to Return Freeway Stubs Passes State Senate Committee

Published : Wednesday, April 10, 2019 | 6:01 AM

A bill known as SB-7 which would lay the foundation for the state to return surplus 710 freeway stubs back to local cities in the freeway corridor passed a state Senate committee Tuesday.

The bill, authored by Pasadena-area Senator Anthony Portantino, SB 7 additionally would forever officially prohibit the implementation of a freeway tunnel or surface freeway in the gap between Alhambra and Pasadena.

The bill would also allow the surplus of Caltrans properties being used by local nonprofits to be purchased at their current use value.

“I am very excited to have SB 7 move through the process it follows through on the commitment I made two years ago when negotiating the end to the 710 tunnel threat. At the time, it was agreed that the EIR certification would move us all in a new and collaborative direction and then I would take the freeway off the table and protect the nonprofits in the corridor. Today, we move one big step closer to that reality,” Senator Portantino said.

Representatives of two Pasadena nonprofits currently leasing Caltrans properties along the defunct route flew to Sacramento to offer testimony on behalf Senator Porantino’s legislation. Elizabeth Dever and Megan Foker from the Ronald McDonald House Charities and students Alaysia Baker-Baughn and Dashiell Gowen from Sequoyah School were on hand as the committee debated the bill.

The City of South Pasadena, the City of Pasadena, the Cottage Co-Op, Pasadena Ronald McDonald House, LA County Supervisor Kathryn Barger and the Board of Supervisors all formally support SB 7.

SB 7 is now headed to the Senate Appropriations (Portantino is chair) and then the Senate Floor for a final vote. If signed by Governor Newsom, the bill would conclude its process early September.

Last December, Portantino hosted a press conference at which he presented the Environmental Impact Report for 710 Freeway extension which formally adopted a local street improvement alternative instead of the multibillion-dollar eight-lane tunnel proposed 15 years ago.

“When the EIR was certified, the tunnel essentially [was] dead,” Portantino’s office said in an email. “SB 7 is the icing on the cake to close this issue.”