Yesterday, federal, state and local officials helped Port of Long Beach, Calif., executives break ground on the $83.5 million Green Port Gateway Rail Project.
Slated for completion in July 2014, the project calls for building six miles of new track, realigning tracks near Ocean Boulevard and creating a new Pier F rail support yard that will support the future Middle Harbor terminal. To be completed in 2019, the $1.2 billion Middle Harbor project involves the conversion of two aging terminals into one large terminal designed to handle more than 2 million additional containers.
The Green Port Gateway Rail Project will improve a rail connection between the Port of Long Beach and Alameda Corridor, eliminate a bottleneck, improve safety and reduce truck trips on local roads by 2.3 million annually, according to federal and port officials. The project — which will be funded in part by a $17 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery III grant — has an estimated economic impact of $400 million.
"Efficient trade requires up-to-date infrastructure for stability and growth. With these improvements, we've greatly improved port infrastructure and our ability to export American products overseas," said U.S. Department of Transportation Maritime Administrator David Matsuda in a prepared statement. "Projects like this one will help us achieve President Obama's goal of doubling our nation's exports by 2015."
Groundbreaking ceremony attendees also included U.S. Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.), Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster, California Transportation Commissioner Fran Inman and Port of Long Beach Executive Director J. Christopher Lytle.
Projects such as the Green Port Gateway rail initiative "will help us maintain our competitive edge as we enter the era of big ships and more cargo," said Lytle.
The Green Port Gateway is the first of four rail construction projects under way or scheduled to begin over the next year to enhance on-dock rail operations at the port. The project also is part of the San Pedro Bay Ports Rail Enhancement Program, which includes work proposed by the Port of Los Angeles and Alameda Corridor Transportation Authority.
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