California Bill Could Ban Freeway Expansions in Underserved Neighborhoods

A proposed bill in the California State Legislature would bar the state from funding road construction in communities at risk for displacement and health impacts.

1 minute read

December 20, 2021, 9:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


A California Assemblymember is proposing a bill that "would prohibit the state from funding or permitting highway projects in areas with high rates of pollution and poverty and where residents have suffered negative health effects from living near freeways." According to a Los Angeles Times article by Liam Dillon and Ben Poston, Assemblymember Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens), the bill's sponsor, has consistently fought against the expansion of the 710 Freeway, citing evidence of the negative health impacts of living near freeways. With the bill, Garcia hopes to stop the displacement of communities and increased pollution brought on by freeway construction.

The proposed bill joins a growing chorus of voices calling on policymakers to acknowledge and begin to redress the detrimental effects of highway projects. At the federal level, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act provides $1 billion (reduced from a proposed $20 billion) for reconnecting neighborhoods harmed by freeway construction.

Per the article, "L.A. transportation officials say they’ve paused separate efforts to expand the 710 and 605 freeways — in part because plans would displace hundreds of families in Latino neighborhoods." But Garcia believes state legislation is still necessary to limit the threat of displacement in communities where powerful interests often override the voices of residents.

Sunday, December 12, 2021 in Los Angeles Times

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