The Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners this week voted to accept $17 million in grants from a federal transportation program to help fund the “Green Port Gateway,” which will improve rail flow and the environment at the Port of Long Beach.
The Green Port Gateway Project, which includes an Ocean Boulevard track realignment and construction of a Pier F rail support yard, will go out for bid this summer, with construction expected to begin in early 2013.
The project will add a third rail line, helping to remove bottlenecks on the existing mainline track to allow Port terminals to shift cargo from trucks to trains, which decreases local traffic congestion and air pollution. The improvements will minimize derailments and optimize rail traffic flow to the waterfront terminals. The project will cost an estimated $60 million and take 19 months to construct.
The federal funds come from the U.S Department of Transportation's TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) program. The project is expected to create about 340 jobs during construction.
The Green Port Gateway Project, the first of four rail projects expected to begin in the next year to promote more on-dock rail shipments, is also part of the larger San Pedro Bay Ports Rail Enhancement Program, which involves several projects by the Port of Long Beach, the Port of Los Angeles and the Alameda Corridor Transportation Authority.
The Port has more than $4.4 billion in capital improvement projects planned for the next 10 years. For the Green Port Gateway project, $27 million has been secured from the state's Proposition 1B Trade Corridor Improvement Fund. The $17 million in TIGER funds helps bring state and federal contributions to $44 million, allowing the Port to move ahead more quickly on this project.