The City Council last year voted to formally oppose the tunnel, but on Tuesday council members expressed interest in furthering the city’s involvement in the fight against the tunnel — voting 4 to 1 to direct city officials to create an action plan, including potential involvement in future legal challenges.
“I hear a clear consensus on wanting to take an active position against the tunnel and being more engaged in this,” said City Manager Jim Starbird, who at a future meeting will outline various levels of involvement, including cost projections.
Councilman Ara Najarian, who as chairman of the MTA Board of Directors has routinely opposed the proposal, said Glendale should take the lead role.
La Cañada Flintridge and South Pasadena have already committed significant resources to the fight, filing a unsuccessful legal challenge against the use of Measure R funds for tunnel studies or construction.
“Glendale has to come out firing at this point,” Najarian said. “We are the largest city affected by this.”
But Starbird said taking the lead role would likely require an additional commitment of staff time and city resources. Costs could reach into the hundreds of thousands, depending on the level of involvement, according to a city report.
Councilman Dave Weaver voted against the motion, sticking to his previous position that it was too early for an opinion on the tunnel.
“The analysis hasn’t been made. Environmental documents haven’t been done,” he said. “We don’t know which route it will go. Nothing has been done.”
But the rest of the council hammered the proposed tunnel, which they said would bring tens of thousands of trucks and heavy pollution into the region.
“I don’t need to wait for feasibilities to know that the end result is something I don’t want,” said Councilman John Drayman.
Several residents from Glendale and other affected cities, such as South Pasadena, spoke in favor of the city’s tough stance.
“I’ve been against this tunnel since day one,” said Glendale community activist Nancy Kent.
“I’m glad the city is taking the attitude we should be fighting it.”
Get in touch MELANIE HICKEN covers City Hall. She may be reached at (818) 637-3235 or by e-mail at melanie.hicken@ latimes.com.