The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administrator David Matsuda attended a ground breaking ceremony today for the Green Port Gateway, a major port-to-rail infrastructure expansion project that will help reduce congestion and improve the environment near the Port of Long Beach by shifting more cargo from trucks to trains. The project was funded in part by a $17 million TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grant.
“Ports are critical for our country’s economic growth and success,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “The Green Port Gateway will build on the progress we made during President Obama's first term, reigniting America's economic engine both here in Long Beach and throughout the country.”
When completed, the $83.5 million infrastructure investment project will improve the connection between the Port of Long Beach and the Alameda Corridor rail line that carries about 15% of all waterborne containers entering or leaving the United States. On-dock rail will reduce the number of trucks on city streets and highways since port workers will be able to move cargo containers directly from ships to trains within the port instead of using trucks to transport cargo from the port to the rail yards.
The Green Port Gateway project is expected to create 340 full-time construction-related jobs, according to the Port of Long Beach, and will add more than 30,000 feet of new track, including adding a new mainline. It will also eliminate a bottleneck and improve safety by rerouting over 8,000 feet of roadway. Combined, these improvements will increase efficiency, improve cargo throughput, and provide a safer working environment for train operations.
“Efficient trade requires up-to-date infrastructure for stability and growth,” said Administrator Matsuda. “With these improvements, we've greatly improved port infrastructure and our ability to export American products overseas. Projects like this one will help us achieve President Obama's goal of doubling our nation's exports by 2015.”
According to the Port of Long Beach, cargo valued at $155 billion for the State of California is moved through the port each year, and 1.4 million jobs nationwide are related to Long Beach–generated trade, with both figures expected to increase once the Green Port Gateway is in operation