Portantino’s Comprehensive 710 Corridor Bill Signed by Governor Final End of Freeway Threat, Stub Development Help for Pasadena, Relief for Tenants, Non-Profits & Post Freeway Actions All Included
Sacramento, California – Senator Anthony J. Portantino (D- La Cañada Flintridge) has proudly announced that SB 7 has been signed by Governor Newsom. This final legislative outcome is the culmination of over 20 years of dedication the Senator brought to fighting the 710 freeway and to helping stakeholders in the 710 corridor. It follows through on a promise that Senator Portantino made to activists, non-profits, and tenants in the 710 region when he negotiated the end of the 710 tunnel threat in December of 2016. Today, the Senator can confidently say that he kept his promise and all threat of a 710 freeway has been silenced. The Governor appropriately signed SB 7 after other bills dealing with the corridor. Under California law, the last bill signed by the Governor supersedes other legislative actions on the same specific issues in the same section of the government code. SB 7 is cemented in law as the final and definitive action on the 710 freeway.
Timing became a critical conclusion because in the final week of the legislative session, amendments were proposed that would dramatically interfere with the City of Pasadena’s plans to develop the left-over freeway stubs. Senator Portantino subsequently negotiated with Caltrans language that solved the Pasadena issue and inserted these amendments into SB 7, making it the only complete and comprehensive fix for the 710 corridor on the Governor’s desk. Not only does SB 7 remove the threat of the 710 freeway from ever being built, it helps facilitate solutions and alternatives in the corridor, including Pasadena’s plans to develop the leftover stubs and legislative help for the non-profits and low-income tenants.
“I am very grateful to the Brown and Newsom Administrations for helping to define our three-year plan to terminate the 710 freeway and for negotiating the final amendments to make it happen. Generations who have been fighting this freeway can now rest in peace knowing that they made this day happen and that the 710 freeway will never be completed. Many people worked collaboratively to get us to this place, giving moral support for those of us in office and providing the runway to let this 60-year-old plane land,” commented Senator Portantino.
For decades, many political leaders shied away from the 710 issue or ardently worked to complete this misguided transportation and financial boondoggle, but not Senator Portantino. Since 1998, at the very beginning of his political career he has been a consistent and strong opponent of the freeway’s completion. Senator Portantino promised residents that upon his election to the State Senate he would make ending the tunnel threat a top priority and he followed through on that commitment.
“We are extremely grateful to our Senator for putting the final nail in the 710 tunnel’s coffin. He has been by our side for two decades; he kept our group calm over these last three years, and he followed through on his promise to have a legislative solution to compliment Metro’s action and the certified EIR. Now that SB 7 is signed we can all finally sigh in relief,” commented Claire Bogaard, No 710 Action Committee.
In addition to ending the tunnel threat, SB 7 helps the non-profit tenants in the 710 corridor purchase their properties in a fiscally prudent manner; something long sought by the Pasadena Ronald McDonald House, Arlington Gardens, Cottage Co-op Nursery and Sequoyah School. During the legislative session, multiple representatives from the non-profits traveled to Sacramento several times offering testimony in support of SB 7.
“We are over the moon that we now have the ability to purchase our properties and to keep them serving our community. Our Senator heard our needs and responded in earnest to help us. We join in the celebration now that this important bill has been signed,” commented Megan Foker, Pasadena Ronald McDonald House.
Pasadena Mayor Terry Tornek participated in the final negotiations ensuring that SB 7 had strong provisions for ending the freeway threat and that Pasadena has the flexibility in the future to negotiate for the freeway stubs not needed by the obsolete freeway plan.
“It is a new day in Pasadena now that the 710 freeway is history. SB 7 ensures that outcome and helps all of us turn our attention to solving local traffic needs, raising the funding necessary to purchase the non-profit properties, and brings some relief to tenants in Caltrans’ affordable rent program. For as long as I can remember, Senator Portantino has been dogged in his efforts to fight the 710-tunnel threat and he fulfilled his promise,” added Mayor Tornek.
The 710 corridor has been a long-time divisive issue for the region. While the freeway’s formal demise has garnered the most attention, SB 7 does much more. It protects non-profits, low-income tenants, and is the only bill that actually helps Pasadena develop the no longer needed freeway stubs.
“I am so grateful to the freeway fighters from South Pasadena who in 1998 took me on a tour of the 710 corridor and shared their struggle with me. The Avenue 64 & El Sereno activists and leaders from Pasadena, Glendale, La Cañada Flintridge and Sierra Madre broadened the coalition to create an immovable force to pull the San Gabriel Valley into a new and positive direction. In the end, many of those who supported the 710 for decades also worked collaboratively to bring us to this point in time to help solve local transportation needs. I am also very grateful for the timing of the Governor’s action so Pasadena can develop the freeway stubs in the city. I’m glad that Pasadena brought its significant concerns to the forefront and I was able amend SB 7 to help this great city,” concluded Senator Portantino.