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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

California ports OK cargo fee to help fund projects

The Los Angeles and Long Beach Boards of Harbor Commissioners yesterday approved a measure to establish a cargo fee at the two major West Coast ports next year. The commissions expect the fees to generate more than $1.4 billion for port projects, including rail improvements.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2009, the commissions will assess a $15 fee on every loaded 20-foot equivalent unit (TEU) entering or leaving any port terminal by truck or train. The fee will increase to $18 per TEU in 2010, then decrease to an unspecified amount in 2012.

Proceeds will help the ports pay for rail and highway projects, including upgrades to their rail network to reduce truck trips to the facilities. The ports also plan to replace the Gerald Desmond Bridge, improve access from the Harbor Freeway to the Port of L.A., replace the Schuyler Heim drawbridge and construct a four-lane, elevated expressway to upgrade the Terminal Island Freeway, and complete a highway-railroad grade separation in south Wilmington.

"Proceeds from this tariff will help make our bridges safer, improve highway safety and congestion, and shift more containers from trucks to on-dock rail," said Port of L.A. Executive Director Geraldine Knatz in a prepared statement.

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More News from 1/15/2008