Port of LA Breaks Ground on $137.7M Railyard

Port of LA Breaks Ground on $137.7M Railyard

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Port of Los Angeles officials broke ground this week on a new intermodal storage railyard that will improve a vital link in the national freight network. The new yard will function as a critical link between the Port of Los Angeles and the Alameda Corridor, providing staging and storage for trains using the corridor.  

Construction of the $137.7 million rail project at Berth 200, also known as the West Basin Railyard, will generate about 2,000 direct and indirect jobs. When completed, the new yard will move cargo more safely and efficiently, reduce truck traffic on roads and freeways and improve regional air quality while strengthening the Port of Los Angeles’ position as the nation’s No. 1 trade gateway.

The Berth 200 railyard project also enables track space at the TraPac container terminal to serve as TraPac’s future on-dock rail facility.  With completion of the $365 million in rail, roadway and terminal improvements at TraPac over the next three years, TraPac will join the other seven container terminals at the Port of Los Angeles that offer shippers the speed-to-market advantage of on-dock rail.

“This project creates jobs, reduces pollution and makes our city a better place to live, work and do business,” said Mayor Villaraigosa. “The economic and environmental benefits of this investment will be felt across the nation.”

“The West Basin Railyard is a model project for how government is supposed to work,” said Harbor Commission President Cindy Miscikowski. “We are pooling federal and state grants with Port revenues to improve a critical link in the nation’s supply chain and support the kind of sustainable solutions we need to meet our most pressing needs.”

“The Port’s top priorities are competitive operations, strong relationships and financial strength,” said Port Executive Director Geraldine Knatz, Ph.D. “This project hits all three marks by allowing us to move cargo more safely and efficiently, making us a better business partner and neighbor to our surrounding communities, and procuring federal and state funding to make the best use of Port dollars.”

The railyard will be constructed with $16 million in federal grant money from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s highly competitive Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery program known as the “TIGER” Discretionary Grant program.

The Port secured $51.2 million from the State Proposition 1B Trade Corridors Improvement Fund (TCIF) Grant that is administered by Caltrans and $22.1 million from METRO-awarded federal funds.  The Port is investing $48.37 million from its Harbor Revenue funds for the project.

Project benefits include:
•    Creating approximately 2,000 direct construction and indirect jobs.
•    Maximizing use of on-dock rail shifts container transport from trucks to on-dock rail, reducing harmful emissions by 593,955 tons over a 20-year period.
•    Improving safety via truck trip reductions on I-710, which has the highest accident rate in California, and via the removal of two at-grade rail-roadway crossings that are impediments between the community and the waterfront area.
•    The new yard is projected to generate $1 billion in annual state revenues by 2030.
•    When completed, the railyard will eliminate 2,300 daily truck trips from the Long Beach (710) and Harbor (110) freeways.
•    Utilizing the most up-to-date green and clean Tier IV construction equipment.
 
The project strengthens the Port’s position to maintain and expand discretionary cargo – goods whose owners choose the Port of Los Angeles over competing ports to import and export their products.

The project will be built in two phases. Phase I includes construction of the new yard, support tracks for the TraPac and China Shipping/West Basin Container terminals, double-track connections to the Alameda Corridor and national rail network, and access road improvements.

Phase II is due to begin construction in 2013 and includes final rail network connections and vehicle overpasses to eliminate at-grade crossings for safer, more efficient flow of truck and commuter traffic. Both phases are due to be completed in summer 2014.

Construction of the rail project begins on the heels of completion of the Harry Bridges Boulevard Roadway Improvements, a $22 million project also built with federal stimulus dollars.

“This ensemble of roadway, rail and terminal infrastructure is part of the Port’s $1.2 billion investment in capital improvements over the next five years that reflect the Port of Los Angeles’ commitment to responsible growth and global leadership in international trade,” Knatz said.

TIGER grants are awarded to projects that demonstrate their ability to contribute to the long-term economic competitiveness of the nation, improve the condition of existing transportation facilities and systems, increase energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve the safety of U.S. transportation facilities, and/or enhance the quality of living and working environments in communities through increased transportation choices and connections.

Projects that preserve and create jobs and stimulate economic activity are given priority. Funding for the Berth 200/West Basin Railyard project was awarded during the second round of TIGER grants.