Road Canceled Due to Its Inherent Racism
The 710 freeway, a major artery linking Los Angeles to its port complex, will no longer be expanded, thanks to opposition that claimed the highway is racist because it produces emissions that affected minority communities living near the road.
The cancelation means that the 710 will remain congested, leaving trucks idling on the road longer, creating more pollution than they would if they were able to travel consistently at the optimum, efficient speed between 45 and 65 miles per hour.
The Los Angeles Times reported:
The freeway and the working-class communities’ ills became a potent symbol of a larger effort playing out across the state: to stop freeways that shape, divide and hurt neighborhoods, especially those where people of color live. The Times found that more than 200,000 people nationwide have lost their homes because of federal road projects over three decades. The largest recent highway expansions, including in California, have forced out residents in Black and Latino neighborhoods at a disproportionately high rate.
Black and Latino residents make up an estimated 83% of the 1.2 million people who live along the 710 corridor. They endure some of the worst air quality in the country. The area accounts for about 20% of all particulate emissions in Southern California, according to [the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority].
The 710 Freeway is the main artery for the nation’s largest port complex, through which nearly a third of the nation’s imported goods move. Big rigs carrying a crush of goods — as varied as electronics, auto parts and shoes — often clog the road. Activistscall it the diesel death zone, but Americans with their appetite for click-shopping, have come to rely on the web of warehouses and deliveries that the port is built around.
Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg has drawn criticism for his claim that much of America’s infrastructure is “racist” because it affected or isolated minority communities, pointing to planners like New York’s Robert Moses.
The cancelation of the 710 expansion comes in the midst of a supply chain crisis in which one of the limiting factors has been the difficulty of moving trucks in and out of port facilities with shipping containers at Los Angeles and Long Beach.