The Agriculture Transportation Coalition’s (AgTC) executive director has sent a letter to the Port of Long Beach’s Board of Harbor Commissioners in support of a proposed rail facility expansion project that would help facilitate more on-dock rail access.
In the letter, dated Jan. 5, AgTC Executive Director Peter Friedmann told the port’s five-member harbor commission that the proposed Pier B Rail yard project was vital to keeping the Port of Long Beach competitive.
Following completion and release of a final Environmental Impact Report in accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act, the port’s five-member harbor commission is expected to consider whether to approve the project during a public hearing early this year.
“The Pier B facility will ease congested truck gates at terminals and help the Port to meet a near-term goal of moving 35 percent of containers via on-dock rail,” Friedmann wrote. “It is the best option to accommodate future cargo growth and boost economic activity.”
The existing Pier B rail facility serves as a storage and staging area for trains and is a critical juncture in the Port’s rail network. The facility is primarily used by Pacific Harbor Line, which provides rail dispatching and switching services.
What the port is proposing is to reconfigure, expand and enhance the existing facility in a number of ways, including improving roadway traffic flow to enhance motorist and rail safety by eliminating an existing railroad crossing, and reconfiguring existing tracks and add additional tracks to allow trains up to 10,000 feet long to directly connect to the on-dock rail facilities and the Alameda Corridor railway.
The port would also potentially acquire additional land to the north of the Pier B rail facility to provide for additional rail car storage and staging.
“It would provide more track space to connect smaller train segments coming from container cargo terminals, allowing the port to enhance the use of on-dock rail,” Friedmann explained. “Moving more cargo by on-dock rail reduces the number of trucks on the road, easing traffic and curtailing emissions.
“The project would improve the efficiency and speed of cargo operations at terminals, helping to keep cargo moving smoothly through the port,” he said. “On behalf of U.S. agriculture and forest products exporters, I urge you to vote in favor of it.”
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