The Northern California ports of Oakland, Stockton and West Sacramento broke ground on the state's Green Trade Corridor, a project that will reduce pollution and help to relieve traffic congestion by diverting some truck movements to the inland waterway system.
The corridor project, which was awarded $30 million under the Transportation Investment Generating Economy Recovery (TIGER) grant program, will move cargo by barge from Stockton and West Sacramento to the deepwater Port of Oakland for shipment to Asia. Vessel operations are scheduled to begin in 2012.
Much of the cargo that will be transported in the corridor is agricultural products from California's Central Valley. At present, those products move by truck to Oakland.
By The Numbers: U.S. Global Goods Trade 2000-2009.
"Not only will this project ultimately reduce air emissions from trucks on Interstate 580, it will also create new alternatives throughout Northern California to transport exports to the Far East," said U.S. Maritime Administrator David Matsuda.
Federal grants will be used to purchase or upgrade port facilities, and to purchase the equipment needed to handle the cargo.
The projects include construction of a cargo staging area at Stockton, a distribution center in West Sacramento where products will be repacked into ocean containers and installation of electrical supply in Oakland that will allow vessels at berth to be operated from electrical power. Also, cranes will be purchased for cargo handling.
The America's Marine Highway program is a new congressionally-authorized initiative to move more cargo and passengers on water routes to help relieve landside congestion. Nationwide, 18 rivers and coastal routes have been identified as eligible to participate in the program.
The TIGER program is part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to promote innovative multi-modal transportation projects that produce economic and environmental benefits.
-- Contact Bill Mongelluzzo at firstname.lastname@example.org.