Availability of federal transportation funding to states, counties, and cities is invaluable
We're writing to tell you about one of the most important transportation projects in Southern California: the State Route (SR) 710 gap closure.
While Los Angeles County is investing an unprecedented amount expanding our public transit system, we also are making smart highway improvements and nothing is smarter than completing the missing link in our freeway system. This project is envisioned as a freeway tunnel connecting the current northern terminus of SR 710 to SR 210 in the San Gabriel Valley.
We believe the many benefits this project brings will show you that our region is ready to invest in our future.
Commuters cutting through Alhambra are a daily feature on area roads.
The project will tackle one of the most vexing problems in Southern California: gridlock. Once completed, the 710 tunnel will slash traffic clogging local streets by 61 percent, reducing 80,000 daily cut-through trips. It also will result in 14,000 fewer car and truck miles driven daily and 17 percent fewer cars and trucks stuck in congestion.
With fewer cars and trucks idling stuck in traffic or taking a longer route to get from point A to point B, the 710 tunnel will remove 2,200 pounds of air pollutants each day. That's about 803,000 pounds annually. This is especially important in Southeast Los Angeles, where 12 out of every 100 children develop asthma.
Kids play adjacent to cut-through traffic in Alhambra.
Finally, at a time of continuing unemployment, the 710 tunnel will create 40,300 construction and related jobs while providing living wages for workers and families, with average earnings of $63,000 per year.
This project also is unique because is includes significant local political and financial support. The SR 710 tunnel was approved by County voters in 2008, including 64 percent in the San Gabriel Valley, as part of a transportation sales tax measure that will provide $780 million in funding toward this project. We are also exploring a public private partnership (P3) to finance and build this project.
But the availability of future federal assistance would be invaluable.