Southland agencies decry allocation of transit funds
“Forty-three percent of container traffic for the entire U.S. comes through the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach,” Yale said. “That is an enormous number of trucks and trains impacting our streets and freeways, not to mention the air pollution these ships, trucks and trains generate.” According to the California Air Resources Board, more than 1,200 residents die prematurely every year throughout the Southland because of air pollution related to the movement of consumer goods through the area. Among the $2.7 billion in projects the Southland coalition hoped to fund is the Alameda Corridor East. Officials were hoping for $350 million for the project, which involves new rail crossings and upgrades to 35 miles of existing freight lines from East Los Angeles to Pomona. The commission’s determination should not affect the project’s chances at securing the $350 million, said Alameda Corridor East CEO Rick Richmond. “But the real wild card is that the state is going to be coming in with other projects (in other transit corridors) that we will have to compete with,” Richmond said. About a half-billion dollars has already been spent on the project, Richmond said. Even if the $350million from transportation bonds comes through, officials estimate it will take roughly $760 million more to complete the project. Most of the $350 million would go to the San Gabriel trench project, which involves four below-grade crossings near the San Gabriel Mission. “Because of the proximity of the mission, lowering the railroad below grade is the best option there, but that is expensive,” Richmond said. The rest of the money would likely go to two additional crossings in either Montebello or Industry, Richmond said. Those projects would use bridges to elevate the railroad above the roadway. According to Yale, the Metro official, the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach generate 890,000 jobs statewide, and the economic activity triggered by the ports accounts for $6 billion in taxes every year. [email protected] (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2306160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREPettersson scores another winner, Canucks beat Kings“(Tuesday’s) decision to share goods movement dollars `evenly’ across the state aimed to satisfy everyone, but in the end will shortchange the region that, by any objective measure, deserves these funds,” said Roger Snoble, CEO of the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority, in a statement released Wednesday. A coalition made up of the five county transit agencies had argued that the region’s size and trade importance – home to the busiest port facilities in the nation – merited 85 percent of the state funds available. It is still unclear to officials how the commission’s decision will affect the Alameda Corridor East, a more than $1billion project to improve freight train transit from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and through the San Gabriel Valley and Inland Empire. The state’s other transit corridors will still receive considerably less than the Los Angeles area, with San Diego securing $250 million to $400 million and a coalition of Bay Area and Central Valley counties receiving between $640 million and $840 million. But the Southland’s share of the pie is still well below even the most conservative estimates based on local need versus the needs of other transit corridors, said David Yale, Metro’s deputy executive officer for regional programming. Instead of receiving 85 percent, the Southland will only get between 55 and 60 percent. Southern California transit agencies said Wednesday state officials short-changed them on bond money approved by voters last year. The agencies could receive up to $1 billion less than they were expecting for improvements to the area rail and truck freight corridors, according to local officials. Carving up $3 billion in funds from Prop 1B transportation bonds, the California Transportation Commission on Tuesday allocated between $1.5 billion and $1.7 billion to Los Angeles, Ventura, Orange, San Bernardino and Riverside counties. Area officials had hoped for $2.55 billion. The money is intended to help move consumer goods from the ports to distribution centers further inland.