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A California superior court judge's ruling this week has halted BNSF Railway Co.'s $500 million intermodal project near the Port of Los Angeles.The ruling involved several lawsuits filed against a plan to build a 153-acre intermodal rail facility known as the Southern California International Gateway. The lawsuits were filed over concerns that the project would have a harmful effect on nearby neighborhoods and the environment.BNSF is "carefully reviewing" the decision by Judge Barry Good of the Contra Costa Superior Court, railroad officials said in a statement."Upon initial review, we are disappointed, because the decision appears to delay a nationally and regionally significant transportation infrastructure," BNSF officials stated.The Class I spent more than 10 years working to advance the project and "stands ready to invest more than $500 million in private funds to develop a facility that will greatly improve air quality for those nearby and throughout the region, create thousands of construction and permanent jobs, reduce traffic in local neighborhoods and on the 710 Freeway, and support the national and global competitiveness of both ports," they said.Port officials have maintained that the intermodal facility would help to reduce pollution in the area by reducing the number of trucks on roadways.BNSF is coordinating with port officials "to determine our next steps," according to the railroad's statement.Meanwhile, L.A. Area Chamber of Commerce President and Chief Executive Officer Gary Toebben said the judge's ruling delivered "a body blow" to Southern California's economy."This new cargo container facility near the ports would have taken thousands of trucks off the 710 Freeway each day. It would also have made the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles more competitive with other ports around the world,” Toebben said in a press release."This proposal by BNSF was an investment in jobs for Southern California and a forward-looking way to make our ports and their customers more efficient and competitive," he added.
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