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Reaction to California Transportation Commission Vote on SoCal Goods Movement Funding

Thursday April 10, 2008

Metro has mixed reaction to today’s California Transportation Commission (CTC) approval of $1.65 billion in state Trade Corridor Improvement Funds aimed at improving the flow of goods from the ports throughout the Southern California region. On the one hand, the monies will be put to good use funding dozens of transportation projects that range from grade separation and rail crossing improvements to widening and reconstruction projects to ease the delivery of goods throughout a five county area that includes Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties.

On the other hand, Metro is disappointed that the CTC did not award this region the full $2.2 billion we and our partners in five counties representing 18 million residents had requested as our fair share of goods movement funding.

Members of the Southern California Trade Corridor Improvement Funds Working Group include the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the Alameda Corridor Transportation Authority, the Alameda Corridor East Authority, the Riverside County Transportation Commission, the San Bernardino Associated Governments, Orange County Transportation Authority, Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro), Ventura County Transportation Commission, Southern California Regional Rail Authority (Metrolink) and the Southern California Association of Governments.

Here in Southern California, an unprecedented coalition of transportation interests joined to develop a consensus approach to investing in goods movement infrastructure while protecting the quality of life for local residents. Our five counties, with a combined population of 18 million residents, are bearing the brunt of congestion, safety and air quality impacts of the nation’s largest ports.

Eighty-five percent of California’s containerized cargo is currently being handled by the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. In addition, the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports handle seven times more international cargo than ports situated in Northern California with Southern California’s road and rail system managing 75 percent of all cargo exported from the State of California annually.

In addition, data compiled by the California Air Resources Board estimates that more than 1,200 residents of Southern California die prematurely every year due to the effects of particulate matter and ozone pollution generated from goods movement activities and that over 80 percent of Californians who are exposed to dangerous levels of diesel emissions reside in these five Southern California counties.

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