Metro board votes to pull support for proposed 710 Freeway tunnel

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The Metro Board of Directors voted on Thursday to reallocate its $700 million portion of the 710 Freeway tunnel extension project and put it toward alternative street improvements.

The board voted 12-0, which was in contrast to a Metro staff report that endorsed the tunnel.

The proposed tunnel would run 4.9 miles and help close the 6.2-mile gap between the 710's terminus and the 210 Freeway, at a total cost of over $3 billion.

With Metro pulling its portion of the funding, the project may effectively now be dead, although Caltrans has the final authority on building the tunnel and is expected to vote on the issue later this year or in 2018.

"I know that people have been fed up and it was time to make a decision, and I'm very happy that today's decision was unanimous," said Hilda Solis of the L.A. County Board of Supervisors.

The possibility of a 710 Freeway extension has been on the table for decades, but has been thwarted by generations of opposition from some of the communities in its path.

Caltrans began in the 1950s and 1960s buying empty lots, houses and apartments along the planned route of the freeway extension.

However, lawsuits and opposition from some communities and activists has kept the project in perpetual limbo for decades.

The Metro board's vote will redirect the agency's $700 million that had been dedicated to the project toward traffic, safety and public transportation improvements along the gap corridor and the greater San Gabriel Valley area.

City News Service contributed to this report.
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