Yee wants Devil's Slide tunnel to be named after Lantos

State Sen. Leland Yee announced today that he will be introducing legislation to name a coastside tunnel being constructed on state Highway 1 at Devil's Slide in honor of retiring Congressman Tom Lantos.

During a news conference today, Yee, D-San Francisco/San Mateo, said he willintroduce the legislation regarding the “Tom Lantos Tunnel at Devil's Slide” on Monday because “no one person is more responsible for this project” than Lantos, D-San Mateo.

The congressman obtained $150 million in federal funding for the site, according to Yee. The other $120 million in funding is being provided by the California Department of Transportation.

Pacifica Mayor James Vreeland and Half Moon Bay Mayor Bonnie McClung lauded Lantos for his decades of service to the community. A member of the Coastside Land Trust referred to Lantos as a “true friend of the coast, ensuring a safe and permanent solution to an ongoing problem in our community.”

Lantos, 79, announced Jan. 2 that he would not be seeking re-election because he has esophagus cancer. He is the only Holocaust survivor to be elected to Congress, is a senior member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the founding co-chairman of the 24-year-old Congressional Human Rights Caucus. He was also elected chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs in January 2007.

Lantos was diagnosed with esophagus cancer in mid-December and is considering a variety of treatments including chemotherapy and radiation, according to his spokeswoman Lynne Weil.

Workers broke ground at Devil's Slide in November and have completed about 100 feet of the 4,200-foot tunnel. Crews are working around the clock to complete the project by 2010, according to Yee.

“It is fitting and deserving” that the tunnel be named after Lantos, Yee said.

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