The Los Angeles City Council approved the environmental documents for the Southern California International Gateway project, amidst outcry from both neighbors and the City of Long Beach. Despite pleas to at least postpone approval, the City Council moved forward in the belief that the project will be the most environmentally friendly of its kind, on top of the economic benefits it would bring. Opponents contend that the project is nothing like such and vowed to fight it in the courts. Curiously, Port of Los Angeles Director Geraldine Katz asserted that the city is working to have on-dock rail facilities, but even then there would be a need for an off-port area to handle all the cargo. Perhaps Katz should look into the GRID Project, which features a ship-to-rail design that would process all cargo in one area, without the need of a second facility.
The Southern California International Gateway, whose environmental documents were recently approved, was the subject of a New York Times piece. Residents are certainly incensed that LA City harbor commissioners voted to move forward with the new railyard, over the former’s objections. Channeling that fury is Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster, who took exception to the notion that the City of Los Angeles stands to gain much from the SCIG at the expense of his own City of Long Beach. Of course, if anyone gives consideration to the more promising and less taxing GRID Project proposal, this whole point might be moot.
Even as residents near the proposed Southern California International Gateway fester their consternation, both the Los Angeles Times and the Los Angeles Daily News came out in support of the project. The two editorials cite the economic contributions the ports bring to Southern California, often in a manner that is taken for granted. However, both also note that concerns from nearby residents must be allayed before a shovel of dirt is turned for the project, even as proponents assure that the project will remove 1.5 million truck trips on the Long Beach Freeway every year. If the GRID Project was built, the SCIG would be unnecessary.
A $1.6 billion harbor maintenance initiative by the federal government could mean good tidings for the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles. Previously, the Port of LA received nothing from this pot of cash, to which US Senator Barbara Boxer offered a bill that would provide the port with $2 million to $5 million a year initially. California ports have long suffered fiscal neglect from the federal government, raking in $430 million in taxes on shippers for the feds in 2011 but getting back $54 million. However, this effort also reveals more cunning ways lawmakers are getting around laws and rules prohibiting earmarks.