The City of Long Beach is appealing to the Los Angeles City Council not to approve the Southern California International Gateway rail yard project recently forwarded by the Port of Los Angeles.
On Wednesday, the Port of Long Beach Harbor Commission formally went on record supporting the city's position, saying the Port of Los Angeles had not done enough to mitigate the impact of noise and diesel emissions from trucks serving the proposed BNSF Railway facility on the residents and businesses of West Long Beach.
The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are competitors, but united in their advocacy for upgrading local infrastructure to accommodate growth of container shipping and implementing measures to reduce air pollution. But as the Clean Truck program demonstrated several years, when Los Angeles tried to create a mandate for drayage companies to use employee drivers and Long Beach simply set standards for trucks entering the port complex, the two ports don't always see eye to eye on how to implement their common vision.
The Los Angeles Harbor Commission two weeks ago approved a 50-year development agreement and lease for BNSF to construct, operate and maintain a 153-acre intermodal container transfer facility on port property along Terminal Island Freeway in nearby Wilmington designed to improve cargo handling efficiency.
The $500 million project would serve containers delivered from both the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
"Improvement of rail facilities is critical to the economic development of this port, and improved rail facilities are what we need in order to reduce emissions,” Harbor Commission President Susan Anderson Wise, said in a statement. However, “everyone can do better on this project than has been done so far.”
The Los Angeles City Council is scheduled to vote on the project in the next few weeks.
“L.A. needs to treat Long Beach like a neighbor, not just dump the project over here without mitigation and changes,” Commissioner Nick Sramek said.
BNSF officials say the proposed SGIG
would eliminate thousands of truck trips on area roadways because the facility is much closer to the ports than a current yard used in downtown Los Angeles. - Eric Kulisch