The tunnel

Written By: Kelly Opdycke
(Editor, KO Zine)

Today, as shocking as it might sound, I’d really like to thank the Republican governor of the great state of California. Mr. Schwarzenegger, first, thanks for that Harvey Milk holiday. It was long overdue. But, Arnold, I’d also like to thank you for vetoing the 710 Pasadena tunnel. We’ve had our differences in the past (many, many of them), but you have my full support on the veto of this complete waste of time and money.

The 710 Freeway, also known as the Long Beach Freeway, stretches vertically on the east side of Los Angeles. The 23-mile route runs along the Los Angeles River, beginning in Long Beach and ending in Alahambra. Originally, construction was planned for an extension through Pasadena, but the community opposed this plan for various reasons and the freeway was never completed.

The tunnel idea came about to appease those Pasadenaens who thought the freeway would split up the city. The plan would have cost around $2-3 billion. How politicians thought this amount of money would be easy to come by, I have no idea – Or maybe I just don’t understand politics. Maybe money just comes out of nowhere. If that’s true, then everything I have to say is bullshit. But I’m pretty sure our tax dollars would pay for this tunnel.

I have never been opposed to paying taxes, but I want my tax dollars to go towards something useful, both now and in the future. Investing in a more efficient public transportation could help transition L.A. from a city infamous for its horrendous traffic to a mass transit mecca that rivals New York and San Francisco. And they should create more bike lanes while they’re at it.

While the Terminator vetoed the tunnel, he left the option open for an $850,000 surface highway. If the highway absolutely must be completed (and I don’t understand why it must be), this route is obviously much more monetarily feasible than the tunnel.

Many disagree with the construction of a surface highway. Some of the arguments are related to environmental concerns, while others think the highway could harm the community of Pasadena.

To be honest, I think all parties have forgotten that not only is this state facing a recession like only few have seen before, we are also dealing with a depletion in oil availability as well as the danger of global warming. And, no, public transportation isn’t the only option when it comes to this issue, but it’s definitely one that needs to be seriously considered.

When are Angelenos going to be ready to make a change? Only when public transportation becomes more efficient for commuters than their cars. And if the government can’t make a train more appealing than sitting in hours of traffic, I’m not sure I’m confident they can do anything.


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