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    Major MTA Vote On 710 Fwy...With Alameda Corridor Fallout

    • MTA Board (Incl. Sup. Knabe) Backs Sup. Molina's Motion Urging Removal Of Parts Alts. C, D & E That Would Take Home & Biz Parcels, Preference For Alt. B Arterial Improvements
    • Motion Amended To Include Forming Resident Advisory Committee
    • Adds Request For Report On Performance of Alameda Corridor

    We post transcript excerpts

    (May 22, 2003, updated May 23) -- In a major development with implications extending beyond the 710 freeway to the Alameda Corridor, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Board of Directors has approved a motion by Director (L.A. County Supervisor) Gloria Molina to urge the I-710 Technical Advisory Committee and Oversight Policy Committee to remove from consideration the design elements of Alternatives C, D, and E that result in the acquisition of business and residential parcels.

    And in a potentially incendiary development, Supervisor Molina added to her motion a request for a report on performance of the Alameda Corridor, the $2.5 billion rail project that was intended to shunt substantial amounts of containerized cargo onto trains from the Ports of LA and LB to downtown L.A.

    The Los Anegles Times reported on May 22 that the Alameda Corridor is operating at less than half of capacity, luring roughly 35% of cargo that officials expected, leaving large numbers of diesel trucks with port cargo to clog the 710 freeway.

    We post transcript excerpts (unofficial, prepared by us) below.

    Dir/Sup. Molina:...In addition I have some amendments to that motion. I'm asking the MTA staff to form a Resident Advisory Committee in the key areas along the corridor where the current design alternatives require the acquisition of large amounts of private property. These committees should be comprised of residents and business owners, and staff should try and work with local jurisdictions to identify who are key members of that community, and of course the establishment of these committees should begin immediately.

    I am also concerned about the use of the Alameda Corridor. We were all promised the kind of expectation that would be made there, and we have been hearing reports, and as it was reported today in the L.A. Times, we're not getting the utilization that we should be getting there and with the kind of investments the MTA made.

    So consequently I am asking that a report be brought back that gives us direct information as as to what is the utilization [of the Alameda Corridor], what are the prospects. The promise was to this Board and to this community as they endured all of that building and disruption in those neighborhoods, that truck traffic would be taken off of many of our freeways, and to maximize the utilization of that cargo.

    So we need to understand and hopefully can come back with policies and incentives that this Board might take should we need to do that in order to make sure that we get full utilization of the Alameda Corridor.

    Supervisor Molina asked that MTA staff check in within 30 days on how quickly the report could be completed.

    After public testimony (including a representative of Assemblyman Fabian Nunez supporting Sup. Molina's motion), LB area County Supervisor/MTA Director Don Knabe spoke. Knabe is a member of the Alameda Corridor Transportation Authority board...along with LB Vice Mayor Frank Colonna (vice-chair of the ACTA Board), LB Harbor Commissioner Roy Hearrean, and Port of LB Exec. Dir. Richard Steinke. ACTA's CEO is former LB City Mgr. James C. Hanka.

    Supervisor Knabe responded to Supervisor Molina's Alameda Corridor comments:

    Dir/Sup. Knabe: While I support Supervisor Molina's motion, I'm not sure, and hopefully this study will come back...I don't think we were ever, I mean obviously maybe a few truck reduction, but the Alameda Corridor was not to reduce, was never intended to reduce truck traffic on the 710 freeway. There may be some opportunities. Two things have changed, obviously with all the litigation, things that went by, there are some additional situations with, I guess the rate structures as it relates to trains versus trucks in the inland empire that have impacted usage on the Corridor as well too, so things would all have to be worked out, but the biggest part of the Alameda Corridor now will be to finish up the Alameda Corridor east which should have a positive impact as well too...

    Dir/Sup. Molina (interjecting): But if there's no trains on it, why bother?

    [audience laughter]

    Dir/Sup. Knabe: OK Gloria, I mean if you say there's no trains, there's far from no trains...

    Dir/Sup. Molina: That's why we need the report [crosstalk] ...

    Dir/Sup. Knabe: I mean there's a capacity issue, that if you had the full capacity what the Corridor could handle, it couldn't go east, I mean we'd have another problem. So, but I think the [requested] report's good and obviously I support the motion.

    The motion passed unanimously. The text of Molina's MTA motion (prior to the amendment she mentioned verbally) is posted below. [amendment below provided by staff]

    WHEREAS, the Interstate 710 (I-710) Corridor is the principal transportation connection between the County of Los Angeles and the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles,

    WHEREAS, currently trucks account for 45 to 60 percent of freeway capacity, and this traffic is expected to grow substantially due to the extension of the ports, interstate freight movement, weekday commute traffic, and weekend recreational traffic,

    WHEREAS, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the California Department of Transportation, the Southern California Association of Governments, and the Gateway Cities Council of Governments have undertaken the I-710 Major Corridor Study to seek ways to improve travel conditions along the I-710 Corridor and adjacent surface streets from the State Route 60 to the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach,

    WHEREAS, three of the five alternatives identified in the Major Corridor Study require substantial business and residential property acquisition,

    WHEREAS, the majority of the potential I-710 expansion would occur in dense urban areas with heavy minority and low-income populations, such as the unincorporated area of East Los Angeles and the City of Commerce that have already experienced significant impacts and residential displacements due to previous freeway projects,

    WHEREAS, residential relocation is a very sensitive issue in these neighborhoods and the need for housing is critical,

    WHEREAS, through the outreach efforts to this point there has been almost unanimous public opposition to alternatives that require residential and business acquisitions and relocations,

    WHEREAS, the cities of Long Beach, Bell Gardens, Commerce, and Carson have already indicated that they cannot support any of the current build alternatives as proposed,

    I, THEREFORE, move that the MTA staff be directed to express a preference for Alternative B, the arterial improvement option, to the I-710 Corridor Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) and the Oversight Policy Committee (OPC).

    FURTHERMORE, I move that staff urge the Corridor TAC and OPC to remove from consideration to the extent feasible those design elements of Alternatives C, D, and E that result in the acquisition of business and residential parcels.

    Staff should continue working with the Corridor TAC, OPC, and Gateway Cities COG to identify meaningful enhancements and improvements to the I-710 freeway that do not rely solely on cost, that explore non-standard design methods and that do not require the acquisition of residential parcels.

    [amendment text as subsequently provided by Sup. Molina's staff]

    1) form resident advisory committees in key areas along the corridor where current design alternatives require the acquisition of large amounts of private property. These committees should be comprised of residents and business owners and staff should work with local jurisdictions to identify members. The establishment of these committees should begin immediately.

    2) report back on the use of rail, specifically the Alameda Corridor, as a method of moving cargo to and from the ports. The report should include possible policies and incentives this Board could take in order to further promote rail usage as the preferred method of transportation to and from the ports.

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