A $2.4-billion dedicated intermodal railroad corridor may ease the congestion faced by truckers that move freight from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to the rest of the U.S.
Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta said the intermodal corridor is a vital element in improving the entry of Asian freight into the U.S.
"International trade is a vital component of our nation's economy and a major segment of California's economy," he said. "The Alameda Corridor will help the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach accommodate the increasing trade growth in the future while helping our national economy capitalize on southern California's standing as a major trade hub of the Pacific Rim."
Mineta said the corridor will improve safety and enhance mobility in the Los Angeles area by concentrating rail and truck traffic within the corridor, preventing delays for both commuters and truckers. About one-quarter of all U.S. waterborne international trade moves through the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Also known as the San Pedro Bay ports, they represent the third-largest port complex in the world.
The project, started in 1997, cost $2.4 billion, including $1 billion raised by revenue bonds issued by the ports and $400 million directly from the ports. About $460 million was provided by the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority, with a $400 million loan from the U.S. DOT, due to be repaid in 30 years.
The ports handled more than $200 billion in cargo in 2001, with half of it transported by train outside of Southern California. The volume of cargo containers handled by the ports doubled in the 1990s to approximately eight-million units and is projected to total more than 24-million units by 2020.