The L.A. City Council on Wednesday voted 10-1 to support state legislation prohibiting the construction of approximately six miles of roadway tunnels to close the 710 Freeway gap between El Sereno and Pasadena. Who was the lone vote in favor of the tunnels? It was First District Councilman Gil Cedillo.
The proposed tunnel would not pass under Cedillo’s district. The south end of the tunnel would begin near Cal State L.A. in El Sereno, which is represented by 14th District Councilman Jose Huizar. It was Huizar who introduced the motion opposing the tunnel and supporting street improvements and other alternative measures. “It’s time to get away from this boondoggle of a project,” Huizar told his council colleagues.
But Cedillo was not swayed. In his remarks on the council floor on Wednesday, the recently re-elected councilman noted that the congestion caused by the 710 Freeway gap spills over into Lincoln Heights, which is in his district, and contributes to unhealthy air in the immediate area. Cedillo defended the tunnel this way:
“The tunnel will leave intact every house, every tree, every street that was meant to be protected. The tunnel is the alternative that does protect these communities …. We should move away from the kind of hysteria that gets engendered by this discussion and move into a dispassionate discussion about the benefits of a tunnel and how it accomplishes the goals of all of those communities impacted.”
Cedillo’s last-minute appeal failed to win over the rest of the council. Today, the Metropolitan Transit Authority will also vote on whether to drop the freeway tunnels as an alternative to close the 710 gap.
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