Los Angeles, CA – Today, the Metro Board of Directors voted unanimously to support a proposal by Supervisor Janice Hahn to end a decades-long effort to widen the 710 freeway. The long-planned widening would have destroyed homes and neighborhoods in Southeast Los Angeles, displacing families living along the freeway.
“Widening this freeway and wiping out neighborhoods is not the pathway forward, and neither is the status quo,” said Supervisor Janice Hahn. “We may be closing out an old chapter, but today we’re going to write a new chapter. We have an opportunity to use the funding we already have set aside for this project on smarter ways to improve air quality, reduce congestion, improve mobility, and address safety concerns for everyone living and traveling along this corridor.”
Early last year, federal and state agencies denied the approval of an environmental impact report for the widening, prompting Metro to explore alternatives to widening in consultation with local groups. With her motion, which is co-authored by Supervisor Hilda Solis, Supervisor Holly Mitchell, and Director Fernando Dutra, Supervisor Hahn proposes using the $750 million in local sales taxes already dedicated to the project to invest in more innovative solutions to traffic congestion, air pollution, street safety challenges, and other problems that communities along the 710 face.
“There are already so many ideas being generated for how we can use this funding going forward,” said Supervisor Janice Hahn. “When I met with Bell Councilmember Ali Saleh, he brought up the idea of a regional transit initiative in SELA that better connects these cities. And Bell Councilmember Ana Maria Quintana told me her residents deserve to have a new Florence Ave interchange that allows them to walk, bike, and drive safely across the bridge. Many of our SELA city councilmembers have also brought up the need for air filtration in our schools, more sound walls, and better access to the LA River. Our Ports are also working towards becoming fully zero emissions, so we need to invest in a zero-emissions truck program.”
Supervisor Hahn’s motion does four things:
- Direct staff to come back to the Board in June with new project vision and objectives, after final consultation with the 710 Task Force
- Call for the project to be renamed to shift focus from being just on the freeway to addressing the broader issues of air quality, goods movement, mobility, and safety in the corridor cities
- Remove capacity enhancing freeway widening from the project altogether
- Direct staff to create an Investment Plan, with short- and mid- and long-term initiatives, with at least three initiatives to request funding in 2022, as informed by the Task Force.
Since the widening of the 710 freeway was first proposed two decades ago, the project has faced opposition from community groups along the corridor. The decision to move away from widening and Supervisor Hahn’s motion to direct funding to improvements instead was met with support from a wide range of stakeholders from environmental organizations to the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.