LA Port Breaks Ground on Rail Yard Project

LA Port Breaks Ground on Rail Yard Project

The Port of Los Angeles broke ground Wednesday on the West Basin Rail Yard project that will serve as a staging yard for railcars and free up land for construction of an on-dock intermodal transfer yard at the TraPac terminal.

The $137.7 million project will be constructed with funding provided by the Port of Los Angeles, the federal TIGER grant program, California Proposition 1B money administered by the California Department of Transportation and METRO-awarded federal funds.

When the project is completed in the summer of 2014, Pacific Harbor Line, the short-line railroad that provides railcar switching services for the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, will move its operations to the West Basin site.

PHL currently operates from a site near the TraPac container terminal. With PHL moving its operations, TraPac will construct an on-dock rail transfer facility on the parcel vacated by the railroad. TraPac is the only one of the port’s eight container terminals that does not have on-dock rail.

The new yard will also provide rail support for the TraPac, China Shipping Container Line and Yang Ming Line terminals in the West Basin. These rail improvements will connect with the Alameda Corridor, the 20-mile-long intermodal corridor that connects Los Angeles-Long Beach with the transcontinental rail network.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said at the ground-breaking ceremonies that in addition to promoting intermodal operational efficiencies at the port, the project, when completed, will eliminate from local freeways about 2,300 daily truck trips from the harbor area.

The project will reduce harmful emissions by almost 600,000 tons over the ensuing 20 years. “A decade ago, I told port officials to green the port, but to grow it, too. It’s working,” Villaraigosa said.

He added that port environmental efforts such as the West Basin Rail Yard have helped Los Angeles to rank fourth in the world behind Copenhagen, London and Toronto in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Local officials said the project is a model for local, state and federal cooperation for infrastructure development. Funding included $16 million from the federal TIGER grant program, $51.2 million from the state Proposition 1B trade corridors fund, $22.1 million from METRO-awarded federal funds and $48.37 million provided by the port.

“We really pulled it together,” said Paul Oliva, deputy director of the California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development.

Contact Bill Mongelluzzo at bmongelluzzo@joc.com and follow him at twitter.com/billmongelluzzo.