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On Tuesday the Rosemead City Council voted 4-0, with Mayor Sandra Armenta absent, to approve the city’s participation in the 710 Coalition.
The Coalition is advocating for the completion of the 4.5-mile 710 Freeway gap from its current terminus in Alhambra to the Interstate 210 Freeway in Pasadena.
According to the staff report, the Coalition is requesting membership dues in the amount of $6,000 a year to be paid through Measure R monies.
Rosemead will participate in the 710 Coalition with the nearby cities of San Gabriel, San Marino, Monterey Park, and Alhambra.
Members of the 710 Coalition asked that Rosemead join its efforts to help advocate for the “freeway alternative,” currently being considered by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority as one of five options in its Alternatives Analysis project.
Metro is currently considering several alternatives, including the dual-bore freeway tunnel, bus, light rail, traffic management solutions, and “no build” options.
Participation in the coalition will require an annual financial contribution of $6,000 from Measure R funds to fund strategic planning and outreach efforts aimed at promoting the completion of the Interstate 710 extension, according to the report.
The 710 Coalition’s proposal, submitted for the Rosemead City Council’s consideration, states that funding for participation in the 710 Coalition would be paid through Measure R monies – revenue generated by the sales tax initiative approved by Los Angeles County voters in 2008.
Measure R established a one-half cent sales tax to be used for public transportation purposes, ending in 2039.
Among the benefits from joining the Coalition, the City of Rosemead will be able to work closely with other members to determine and develop public messaging in support of the I-710 Extension project, according to the staff report.
Councilman Steven Ly made an additional motion at the Jan. 22 meeting to re-establish the city’s Transportation Working Group, a task force that would inform residents on the 710 project, while advocating support for it.
“I think our Working Group needs to work on what kind of outreach we’re doing – are we engaging with our residents on this issue? The city does have an official position on this, and I think we can do a better job of getting our residents, or our stakeholders, at these (Metro community) meetings … to really advocate for that,” said Ly, whose motion passed 4-0.
Another key advocacy factor listed as part of the Coalition’s scope of services is its goal to attend and arrange for project advocates to attend public hearings and meetings and provide testimony on the record where the I-710 Extension project is scheduled for consideration.
Metro’s Alternatives Analysis project is attempting to bridge the gap in the Interstate 710 Extension Project with the aim of reducing traffic congestion in areas between State Route 2 and Interstates 10, 210, and 605, according to the staff report.
After completion of the analysis, work will begin on an Environmental Impact Report/ Environmental Impact Statement, which is scheduled for public release and comment in February 2014, according to Metro officials. The final document is planned to be completed in spring 2015.
For more information on the Coalition and its objectives, visit them online at www.710gap.com.
Opposing the 710 tunnel option is the “No 710 Action Committee,” whose online site is at www.no710.com.
The Committee is an association of cities, organizations and local residents who perceive the tunnel plan to be an unacceptable alternative toward addressing regional transportation problems.
The No 710 Action Committee is also calling for transit authorities to operate with transparency and honesty in regards to the concerns and interests of the impacted communities.
Metro is also hosting community meetings to discuss the next phase of the environmental study for the 710 Gap Closure Project.
Upcoming meetings include 6-8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 24 at San Marino Community Church, 1750 Virginia Road, San Marino; and 9-11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 26 in the Golden Eagle Building at Cal State Los Angeles, 5151 State University Drive, Los Angeles.
For more information on the studies, visit www.metro.net/projects or call (855) 477-7100.
By Jim E. Winburn