Not So Fast: Metro Board Hits the Brakes on Southern California Highway Expansion Plans

Political opposition to the controversial I-605 Corridor Improvement Project is gaining traction on the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board of Directors.

October 27, 2020, 12:00 PM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

5/605 Interchange

The I-5 and I-605 freeways where they meet in Downey, California. | Kit Leong / Shutterstock

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) Board of Directors hit the brakes on a controversial freeway widening project proposed for Interstate 605 and intersecting sections of interstates 5, 10, and 105 in addition to California State Route 60.

The Metro board unanimously approved a motion to delay the I-605 Freeway Corridor Improvement Project "and to study alternatives that would minimize the demolition of homes," reports Joe Linton.

According to Linton, "Metro’s official statements, including a September 29 letter from CEO Phil Washington, have been largely dismissive" of negative feedback on the project. The Gateway Cities Council of Governments (GCCOG) and the city of Downey are two local jurisdictions cited by Linton as examples of community opposition to I-605 Corridor Improvement Project. The Metro Board of Directors, however, responded to that feedback. Linton provides more detail about the board's actions:

Last week, six boardmembers put forth a motion that delays the release of the project environmental studies (draft Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report – dEIR/EIS) until after Metro staff study more alternatives. The motion specified that those alternatives will include one that “minimizes right-of-way impacts” and/or a “Transportation System/Demand Management (TSM/TDM) alternative” similar to what the board approved in place of the canceled $6 billion North 710 Freeway tunnel project through South Pasadena.

Linton also provides details of the widespread opposition to the project expressed by members of the board.

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