LOS ANGELES—The Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners recently recommend approval of the $500 million Southern California International Gateway project, a 156-acre intermodal development planned by BNSF Railway.
The railway has been trying to push through the project, which is located between Sepulveda Boulevard, Pacific Coast Highway, the Dominguez Channel and the Terminal Island Freeway. The City Council is expected to review and vote on the project in the near future.
Officials at BNSF say the intermodal will increase jobs and cargo traffic, though the company promises to use green technology to severely limit the impact to the local environment, while also reducing the number of trucks on the road. A few local groups have protested the project.
“The Commissioners’ vote today validates that building SCIG is the right choice for green growth in Los Angeles and will be a new environmental model for the rest of the country,” says Matthew Rose, chairman and CEO of BNSF, in a statement. “We appreciate all the support today from a wide range of stakeholders and stand ready to invest $500 million to build this state-of-the-art facility and bring jobs, air quality and traffic benefits to Southern California while helping keep the San Pedro ports competitive.”
BNSF says the new intermodal facility will feature wide-span all-electric cranes, ultra-low emission switching locomotives and low-emission rail yard equipment. Trucks will be required to avoid residential areas by traveling on designated, industrial routes with GPS tracking to ensure compliance. BNSF has also agreed to contribute up to $3 million to the joint Port of Los Angeles-Port of Long Beach Technology Advancement Program to further the development of zero-emission goods-movement technologies.
As far as new jobs are concerned, the railroad has concluded a Project Labor Agreement worth $255 million with the Building and Construction Trades Council that should result in approximately 1,500 jobs per year during construction, the company says. BNSF has committed to create a local jobs training program and offer priority hiring for new jobs to qualified local job applicants.