To consolidate, disseminate, and gather information concerning the 710 expansion into our San Rafael neighborhood and into our surrounding neighborhoods. If you have an item that you would like posted on this blog, please e-mail the item to Peggy Drouet at pdrouet@earthlink.net

Sunday, January 13, 2013

(Un)Freeways: TEDx Tackles Congestion Pricing


January 13, 2013

The sorta, kinda congestion pricing plan on LA's freeways is now a few months old and in that time we've noticed no benefits, but then again it wasn't designed like normal congestion pricing. So what could real congestion pricing (everyone is charged, not just people using the HOV lanes) do? If you're in Stockholm, you'd see a precipitous drop in drivers on the road during rush hour and you'd happily tell your friends about it in Swedish. H/t to ArchDaily which links to the above TEDx talk to explain the magical world of congestion pricing.  

Video: Jonas Eliasson: How to solve traffic jams:


Video: Beat the Canal -- Put People to Work!


This is a video put out by the Jobs1st Organization, with transportation and elected officials appearing in the video. But go to 2:58 into the video and hear what Peter Peyton, President, ILWU Local 63 - Marine Clerks/Co-Chair, Jobs 1st Alliance has to say:

Approximately: "...where China can get a project done, an equal project, in a 1 year, it takes us in some cases up to 15 years to get that same project done."

Should someone tell Mr. Peyton that China is a communist country, that the government of China owns all the land in China, and that China does not have to go through hoops to get projects done as all power in that country is concentrated at the top? I think it is outrageous that Mr. Peyton has compared the U.S. with China, with China coming out on top, indicating that the Chinese way is the better way.

Don't forget Mr. Peyton that one of the big hoops of a getting project done in the U.S. is that we allow public imput, not allowed in China. Should we just ram projects down the throats of the public to get them done more quickly?
Trucks in the 710 Tunnel
Disinformation from Metro, Caltrans, SCAG,
and their Official Representatives

Official statements where Metro and its allies admit the tunnel is being
built for freight trucks:

1. Everything Long Beach, March 24 2011, “Metro’s Freeway Projects Mean Better
Transportation For Everyone” by Editor


Note - In this article, Doug Failing from Metro gave information to the reporter making the
exact same statement from the Metro News Release of March 21, 2011 (below)


2. Metro News Release, March 21, 2011, "Metro's Highway Program Shifts into High Gear with
18 New Projects Worth Nearly $1.4 billion Set to Break Ground in 2011"

While this year's 18 projects and the I-405 are designed primarily to give people a better commute, three other high-profile projects in various planning stages but not yet scheduled,
address the demands of commerce -- specifically goods movement from the twin ports of
L.A. and Long Beach,
the two busiest ports in the country, and goods movement from
California's Central Valley, America's bread basket.

The I-710 south from the Pomona Freeway (SR-60) to the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach
will involve a freeway widening and possibly a separate freight corridor that could be tolled.
The 710 north gap closure between the I-10 and the I-210 would complete the natural goods
corridor that was begun several decades ago.
Metro has been holding a series of conversations
and outreach with the community, in an effort to collect ideas on best options.

A third, the High Desert Corridor, will be a brand new 63-mile east-west freeway between SR-14 in
Los Angeles County and SR-18 in San Bernardino County. It would create a shortcut for goods
from the Central Valley to the rest of the United States and trim back goods congestion
through the L.A. basin.

Like infrastructure investment, goods movement investment is an investment in our future, Failing

3. Mobility 21, September 6, 2011, 10th Annual Southern California Transportation Summit,
Transportation NEXT: New Era, New Vision, New Realities


Mind the Gap: What Gap Closures Mean for the Effectiveness of Southern California's Goods
Movement System

4. "I-710 Missing Link Truck Study" Comments
The City of La Cañada Flintridge reviewed the Draft Final Report for the I-710 Missing Link Truck
Study prepared by Iteris dated May 2009.

This Study was commissioned by the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) to
further examine the potential vehicle and truck impacts on the surrounding freeway and roadway
network if a tunnel was constructed between the existing northerly terminus of the SR-710
Freeway in Alhambra and the I-210/SR-134 freeway interchange in Pasadena.
SCAG has emphasized that this study is technical and comparative in nature and is not meant as a
recommendation either for or against a freeway tunnel.

Full study - This is a large document that takes time to download.
"I-710 Missing Link Truck Study" Traffic Analysis for the Arroyo Verdugo Subregion With
and Without the I-710 Gap Closure Preliminary Draft Final Report, July 21, 2009:
Submitted by Iteris In Association with the KOA Corporation, May 2009, Submitted to
Southern California Association of Governments


Note - Study was done to look at the effect the I-710 “gap closure” would have on the roadway
system of the communities surrounding the project. In it, it states that the “gap closure” Truck
lanes would allow trucks to bypass the downtown area for trips “to and from the Central Valley
and Northern California areas” and increase traffic to the area. Truck traffic would also increase
east of the 710 through Pasadena, the study found. The study was never "finalized" by SCAG.

5. SR-710 Tunnel Financial Feasibility Assessment SCAG RTP 2008, Final Finance Report,
Appendix F


...In the opening year, the “average” user would pay $5.64 to use the tunnel. Trucks would pay
an average of $15.23.
The flat rate is assumed to be $7.00. See tables 1, 2, and 3 of Exhibit 1

Traffic & Revenue.
 DF pg 5 please see section 2.7: Passenger and Commercial Tolling

It has been assumed that all vehicles, both passenger and commercial, will be tolled without
restrictions. Trucks would be permitted to use the tunnel,
except for those carrying hazardous
materials, at all times. A correction factor for vehicles carrying hazardous materials has been
taken into consideration in this report.

Due to the importance of truck traffic on the SR-710 and to provide another east-bound
connection for freight, it is critical to allow truck traffic in the tunnel.

6. Goods Movement Task Force of the Southern California Association of Governments,
Wednesday, May 21, 2008, 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m., February 20, 2008, Minutes

PDF pg 9 (Pg 6 of the Doc) Update on 5.2 "Missing Link Truck Study"

Mr. Viggen Davidian, Iteris, Inc., began by giving an update on the progress of the project, noting it
was 50% complete and on-schedule to be finished by the June 30, 2008. Mr. Davidian began by
describing the I-710 gap and the potential for the construction of a tunnel to close the gap
between the I-710 freeway and the I-210 freeway
based on previous study. He emphasized that
the purpose of the study was to evaluate the full effects of the connection and its various options,
specifically in relation to truck impacts.

7. Los Angeles Times, February 13, 2007, “State's future may be paved with fees”, Evan


Under pressure from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has been pushing for the state to start
shifting the cost -- and some control -- of road building to the private sector, lawmakers last May
authorized government agencies to build four demonstration projects in partnership with
investment banks, shipping companies and other businesses.…

Moving goods

The Legislature has yet to sign off on what roads would be built under the arrangement, but has
stipulated that they must serve the movement of goods. The California Department of
Transportation is already suggesting a toll road for trucks that would go from the Port of Long
 Beach to the Inland Empire,
and a toll road for cars and trucks at the Mexican border near San
Diego that would have its own border crossing...State and local transportation planners have
joined with the governor's office to lobby lawmakers for authority to broker more deals with private
companies. "This should only be a beginning," Mark Pisano, executive director of the Southern
California Assn. of Governments,
said of the projects approved in May. At a recent legislative
hearing, Pisano told lawmakers that his organization wants to work with private companies to
build a controversial 8-mile tunnel that would link the 710 Freeway to Pasadena, a project
estimated to cost at least $2 billion. Federal transportation officials are cheering these planners

8. USC Financial Charrette, USC Keston Institute for Public Finance and Infrastructure Policy,
Financial Planning Charrette 710/210 Tunnel Connection, December 5, 2007, The University
Club University of Southern California, Meeting Summary


The importance of the 710/210 tunnel connector is recognized by federal, state and regional
transportation traffic engineers and planners, and it is a priority project for the California
Department of Transportation (Caltrans), the Southern California Association of Governments
(SCAG) and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA).
The tunnel
would serve to connect two major interstate freeways, closing a critical 4.5 mile gap in the regional
highway system. Interstate 710 or the “Long Beach Freeway” is a major goods-movement corridor
and an important north-south route extending from the City of Long Beach area in the South,
through Los Angeles, and ending just north of Interstate 10 in Alhambra. The tunnel would
continue the route
as originally provided for in California Freeway and Expressway System plans
dating back to the 1950s. It would descend in Alhambra, continue underground beneath the city of
South Pasadena, and emerge in Pasadena to connect to Interstate 210, …


...Local opposition to the construction of this segment of freeway delayed the project for
approximately four decades, with protests and lawsuits by community groups and property owners
in Alhambra, San Marino, Pasadena and La Canada/Flintridge, but the most vocal and aggressive
opposition from activists and officials located in the City of South Pasadena…

...In addition, this critical segment of highway would dramatically reduce travel times and
distances for one of the most important regional goods-movement corridors, and the value of its
added efficiency means that it would generate reliable traffic and toll revenue… A major
collaborative effort to move the project forward was spearheaded and funded by the MTA… The
planning charrette opened with overviews from public officials of the history of the project and the
status of engineering plans and cost estimates. It also featured the assessments and estimates of
several leading legal firms, contractors, and financiers that have direct experience with similar
projects around the world…The afternoon featured a lengthy informal discussion of the pragmatic
steps still required to bring this project to fruition, including the role of private sector parties, the
projected costs and variations on financial agreements, the relevant political circumstances in
California, and the legislative and legal steps that are necessary to getting construction underway.
The meeting opened with introductions, and a statement from California State Assemblyman Mike
Eng, representing District 49
including much of the San Gabriel Valley including Alhambra and
San Marino. Assemblyman Eng offered his support for legislative action. Tracy Arnold, Director for
Jobs and Economic Growth of the Office of the Governor, expressed support for the project and
stressed Governor Schwarzenegger’s commitment to leveraging public money through private
sector partnerships.
Dan Farkas, representing California State Senator Gil Cedillo, confirmed their
interest in seeing construction underway, and Senator Cedillo’s willingness to sponsor needed
legislation. Senator Cedillo represents Senate District 22, including much of Los Angeles as well as South Pasadena, Alhambra, and San Marino. ...Robert Huddy of the Southern California
Association of Governments began discussion with an overview of the history of the project. Mr.
Huddy is a senior transportation manager who has been involved with the 710 connector project
as a representative of SCAG for nearly two decades...
The historical overview presented by Mr.
Huddy was followed with data on current traffic estimates and cost estimates. Traffic estimates
indicate that the tunnel would immediately attract significant traffic between the port area
and Los Angeles heading toward major national distribution centers in San Bernardino
It would alleviate traffic congestion for commuters and trucks on surrounding freeways, in
particular Interstate 5, Interstate 10, and Highway 101 and also eliminate the current bottleneck
where I-710 currently ends in South Pasadena. The MTA was represented at the meeting by Linda
Transportation Planning Manager of the San Gabriel Valley Area Team, and Caltrans District
7 was represented by senior engineer Abdi Saghafi, route 710 corridor manager, both of whom
contributed informal assessments of current prospects and progress. ...Michael Liikala,
representing ACS-Dragados, followed with a detailed presentation on major engineering aspects
of the tunnel project.

James Martling of Sperry Capital then discussed his firm’s experience with public/private
partnerships and emphasized the need for quick action to ensure financial feasibility. He also
recommended that government agencies take responsibility for the environmental review process,
which is considered too unpredictable for the private sector to take on that risk....The final
presentation of the day was made by Paul J. Ryan and Nick Moller of the Infrastructure Advisory
Group of JP Morgan Securities. They presented a detailed spread sheet with financial data and
assumptions for the tunnel project. They were able to adjust variables including the potential
overall budget of the project (currently estimated at approximately $6 billion), traffic diversion, toll
the amount of government contributions, and the timeframe of concession agreements as
well as other significant elements. ...Mark Pisano, executive director of the Southern California
Association of Governments,
led a general discussion following the presentation. Mr. Pisano
emphasized the importance of pragmatic action and the development of a workable legislative

9. SCAG Memo, February 17, 2005
To: Plans & Programs Technical Advisory Committee, From: Nancy Pfeffer, Senior Regional
Planner, RE: Goods Movement White Paper for Secretary of Business, Transportation &


During Governor Schwarzenegger's Fall 2004 visit to Japan, he was criticized by government and
business leaders for allowing congestion at the San Pedro Bay Ports to impede the flow of goods
from Asia to U.S. markets.
On his return, the Governor tasked BT&H Secretary, Sunne Wright
McPeak with developing a strategy on this issue.

10. Southern California Association of Governments Regional Transportation Plan, Technical
Appendix E Goods Movement, May 2001


Freight Issues, Implications and Options in the Moving Forward Document (Doc E-28-E-29/PDF pg 30-31)
f) The I-710 Gap Closure

Issue: Environmental and construction impacts on the City of South Pasadena are at the core of
an on-going debate on whether to close the gap in Interstate 710. Even if the gap is closed, trucks
are banned from using it.

Implications and Options: The 710 Freeway gap closure project as presently conceived would
divert commuter traffic moving from the I-10, SR-60, I-5, and I-710 freeways to Pasadena, which would provide some alleviation of congestion impacting truck traffic using the 5 Freeway on the segment between the 710 Freeway and the 110 Pasadena Freeway. However, it would not permit
trucks to directly access the 210 Freeway from the 710 Freeway.

A potential solution is to modify the Interstate 710 gap closure project with the
construction of four bored tunnels
under South Pasadena to avoid neighborhood disruption/
damage. Trucks would be allowed to use the I-710 project thus modified, so that direct 710-210
truck movements are possible, permitting trucks to bypass downtown Los Angeles and reducing
the load on the 5 Freeway and others.
A toll on cars and trucks would be used to pay for the
additional cost of the bored tunnels above and beyond the expenditures for the cut-and-cover
underground roadway through South Pasadena that Caltrans has indicated it can fund.

In discussion in the Committee, it was noted that this solution would require further study, as
questions of underground fault lines, the water table, etc. would need to be investigated before the
feasibility and costs of bored tunnels in this location could be determined. If truck lanes are
implemented on the 710 Freeway from the San Pedro Bay Ports to downtown Los Angeles, such
truck lanes would logically be extended northward to use any such bored tunnels as might be
incorporated into the gap closure project--allowing easy access from the 710 Freeway to the 210
Freeway. It was further noted that diversion of commuter traffic to a 710 bored tunnel gap closure
project would also have some benefits for truck traffic using the 5 Freeway.

Finally, it was suggested that other freeway gap closure projects, such as the 30 Freeway
between the San Gabriel Valley and San Bernardino, would also provide major goods movement
benefits, and may also warrant endorsement by the Goods Movement Committee.

Official statements from Metro and its allies
contradicting their previously presented statements and
studies above:

1. Pasadena Star News, “Alhambra hosts 710 forum to get the correct information out there’”
By Lauren Gold, SGVN Updated: November 23, 2012 09:16:31 PM PST


Alhambra Mayor Barbara Messina said she asked Ikhrata and Failing to come to the meeting
to dispel what she says are rumors and misinformation surrounding the project.

Freeway fighters have expressed concern that Metro is not seriously considering options other
than the freeway tunnel, which they fear will be a source of truck congestion and air pollution in
the cities that line the route.

"My whole purpose was to get correct information out there, everything that I've been hearing like
`oh, we are going to have all this pollution' ... but that's not true. ... And the cost, its not going to be
as high as $20 billion as people say," Messina said. "I just think they don't want to hear the truth,
they talk amongst themselves and this is what they tell other people ... so it's time to get the
correct information out there now."

2. Letter from Doug Failing, November 19, 2012

Dear ___
Thank you for your recent letter addressed to my attention regarding the State Route 710 Study
currently underway. Your interest in this important regional transportation issue is appreciated and
I welcome this opportunity to provide you with Metro's perspective on this matter.

Your primary concern is in regards to statements that may have been attributed to me, presented
in an article that ran in the publication "Everything Long Beach", asserting that the State Route
710 freeway tunnel option is being planned as a goods movement corridor for trucks. Please be
advised that, while this may be the interpretation of the author of the article, that statement should
not be attributed to me as the State Route 710 is not a goods movement corridor.

The objective of the State Route 710 Study is to examine a range of alternative concepts in order
to find solutions to traffic congestion in the West San Gabriel Valley area and to promote a more
efficient operation of our regional freeway system. The voters of Los Angeles County passed
Measure R in November 2008 by a two-thirds majority to approve a half-cent sales tax increase to
fund transportation improvement projects in our county. Measure R specifically allocates $780
million to the State Route 710 corridor. In June 2010. the Metro Board of Directors authorized staff
to pursue a robust public Outreach effort in pursuit of multi-modal solutions to congestion in the
State Route 710 Corridor, leading to the preparation of a Draft Environmental Impact Report I
Environmental Impact Statement (DEIR/DEIS).

Five alternatives will be carried forward for more detailed analysis in the DEIS/DEIR. These
alternatives are:
1. No-Build
2. Transportation System Management f Transportation Demand Management
3. Bus Rapid Transit with refinements
4. Light Rail Transit with refinements
5. Freeway Tunnel with refinements

None of these alternatives are being developed as a goods movement alternative. At this time, we
are just beginning the environmental process and no decision has been made on a preferred

Douglas R Failing, P.E.
Executive Director, Highway Program
All Metro Board Members
Hasan Ikhrata, Executive Director, SCAG

3. Pasadena Star News, “SCAG official says 710 tunnel will be hard to beat”
By Lauren Gold, SGVN Updated: November 15, 2012 09:27:02 PM PST


At the meeting, which was attended by the group of city officials asked to provide guidance
throughout the study, Metro officials also discussed how goods movement plays into the freeway

Freeway fighters have expressed concern that the tunnel would become a goods movement route
for trucks from the ports, spewing added diesel pollution into the San Gabriel Valley.
Consultant Steve Greene said that a freeway tunnel would not likely be a popular route for trucks
out of the ports, as those trucks would continue to take the 710 to the 10 or the 60 Freeway.

"We are not saying trucks will never use this tunnel, but the point we're making is that that facility
is not on the path that port trucks in particular are taking," Greene said.

Consultant Loren Bloomberg said trucks going to the local grocery stores or shopping malls would
use the tunnel instead of taking the local streets.

Given this data on truck movements, Bloomberg stressed that the 710 extension is focused on
moving people, not trucks.

"Goods movement from the ports is not a driver for our study need, we are not seeing an influence
there, we've been saying this consistently," Bloomberg said.

4. KPCC interview with Doug Failing, Metro's Executive Director, Highway Programs, August
7, 2012.
Audio of the show is archived on the KPCC link above - listed on the left side of the
website page.
(7:23 min)...Doug Failing: “I’ve never to my knowledge ever said that this 710, this gap,
would have anything to do with with truck traffic, fact is I’ve always, ah, said that, ah, I,
most of the traffic come out of the ports LA Long Beach are either headed towards the East
West corridors so they’re out on the 60 they’re out on the 10 and I’ve never seen 710 as as
a freight corridor, and I’ve said that quite often.”...

Note - The above quote by Doug Failing contradicts what was reported in the Everything Long
Beach article "Metro’s Freeway Projects Mean Better Transportation For Everyone" by Editor
March 24, 2011, and also the Metro News release March 21, 2011, "Metro's Highway Program
Shifts into High Gear with 18 New Projects Worth Nearly $1.4 billion Set to Break Ground in

5. SR-710 Tunnel Technical Study, La Cañada Flintridge Community Meeting Summary, May
26, 2009

pg 4

Comment from Metro: You are going to have to be able to radiate movement of goods into your
Distribution of goods will involve at least one truck movement. We actually looked at
the possibility of not including trucks in the tunnel. I can’t say that we will say there will be no
trucks. Perhaps we may exclude trucks over a certain size. I think some of us may be confused
about the number of trucks that will be using the route.

6. Pasadena Sun, December 11, 2012 6:27 am, "Pasadena hammers 710 tunnel, stops short of
opposing it" by Joe Piasecki joe.piasecki@latimes.com


Note - Bob Huddy, a representative of SCAG who has been involved with the 710 connector
project for nearly two decades contradicts himself regarding traffic and air pollution:

"...Bob Huddy, a former senior planner with the Southern California Association of Governments
who once also headed the Pasadena Transportation Advisory Commission, said the tunnel
would decrease air pollution caused by existing commuter traffic on city streets. Huddy
accused opponents of cherry-picking data to support their own views."


However, in 2007 in the Financial Charrette listed as # 8 in the first section above. Huddy claimed
"Traffic estimates indicate that the tunnel would immediately attract significant traffic
between the port area and Los Angeles heading toward major national distribution centers
in San Bernardino County."

These quotes show Huddy is clearly the "cherry picker" of "data". It is this very data from studies
about trucks, added congestion and pollution, which Huddy was a part of gathering, that he is now
in the process of denying.

Compiled by No 710 Action Committee 1-12-13 ck

Officials and residents await 710 progress report 


 By Lauren Gold, Staff Writer
Updated:   01/13/2013 04:12:28 PM PST
 Cars getting on the 710 freeway south from Valley Boulevard in Alhambra Friday, October 7, 2011.

 Months after it was promised to the public, the written report on the final five options for the Long Beach (710) Freeway extension project will be released this month, Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials said.
Local politicians and residents have been eagerly awaiting the report, which will detail the final five options proposed to complete the four-and-a-half mile freeway "gap" between Alhambra and Pasadena.

In August, Metro announced the "final five" options it plans to study in the second phase of the project's three-year Environmental Impact Report: "No build," traffic management solutions, light rail, bus route and a dual-bore underground freeway tunnel.

Metro officials originally pledged to release the report in October, then delayed it until December. Metro Spokeswoman Helen Ortiz-Gilstrap said Friday that the final report will be released within the next two weeks.

"That report will be posted probably within the next week, week-and-a-half because the information is still being finalized," Ortiz-Gilstrap said. "It will certainly be on the Metro website prior to the community meetings."

Metro will host three community meetings on Jan. 23, 24 and 26 to update the public on the report.
Alhambra Mayor Barbara Messina, who has long advocated for a 710 tunnel, said she thinks Metro is taking extra care to write a solid report.

"I'm sure as suggestions or comments came up they wanted to investigate and make sure they didn't leave any stone unturned without looking at everything," Messina said. "I just think they are being super cautious."

But Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard said he thinks the delay has come from a lack of coordination between Metro and Caltrans on the project. In recent meetings, he said, he got the impression that Caltrans was "not well informed about all that had gone on over the last 12 to 18 months."

"My theory is that the delay is due primarily to the interest expressed by Caltrans in being briefed on what is going on in regard to the alternatives analysis before the report is issued," Bogaard said. "It demonstrates maybe a lack of coordination on this project between the two agencies until now."
Caltrans has also been waiting for the final report.

Spokeswoman Lauren Wonder said the agency has already identified 17 of the more than 500 homes it owns in Los Angeles, Pasadena and South Pasadena that would no longer be in the freeway's path, but it cannot put them up for sale until the final report is released.

"There could be a potential 17 homes that are outside of any alignments that could be considered surplus, but we won't know until that Alternatives Analysis report comes out," Wonder said. "It's just a concept right now."

Metro briefed staff members Thursday on the final report and has scheduled the report's "general release prior to January 26," according to documents obtained by the Star-News. Metro Board Members had not yet been briefed on the report Friday, according to Board Member John Fasana.

"I have not received a briefing on the AA report," Fasana said. "I'm surprised that there might be a suggestion that this thing is done. It can't be done, I wouldn't think, with some of the conversations I've had recently."

Suzanne Reed, chief of staff for State Sen. Carol Liu, D-La Canada Flintridge, said she is concerned that residents will not have time to review the report - which is expected to be more than 100 pages long - before the meetings.

"We await the alternatives analysis that was supposed to come out in December but has yet to materialize," Reed said. "This raises a concern that we've had all along, which is that they have these workshops but if people haven't had enough time to review the materials in advance, then how is that really a viable opportunity for input."

Joanne Nuckols, of the No 710 Action Committee, said the last round of open houses over the summer were informative. She said these public meetings are one of the best - and only - chances to give feedback and ask questions about the project.

"The good thing about the open houses is we, the public, have access to the consultants that are doing the EIR and we are able to talk to them," Nuckols said. "If we don't have a chance to actually read the report and then we could have an informed dialogue with the consultants, then we don't get another chance for who knows how many months down the road."


Beat the Canal

Beat the Canal is an initiative to encourage those involved in West Coast US trade to confront and rise to the challenge of the 2014 expansion of the Panama Canal.

An Initiative of the
Jobs 1st Alliance

The widening of the Panama Canal now underway will give large container ships crossing the Pacific the ability to bypass ports in California and dock in East Coast and Gulf ports. The purpose of the Beat the Canal initiative is to enhance the competitiveness of our green ports and corridors to be ready to meet this challenge by the time the widened Canal doubles current capacity when it opens in 2014.
If this campaign succeeds, California will see job creation, business growth and retention, environmental benefits, and cost savings throughout our economy’s supply chain.  If we do nothing and allow other ports to become increasingly competitive moving Asia-U.S. cargo to market, the implications for our economic recovery, the global environment, and our long-term business outlook are extremely serious.

Put People to Work!



“Make no mistake, expansion of the Panama Canal has jobs written all over it… jobs for them. We must unite to protect our jobs and market the environmental benefits we offer — to Beat the Canal!” 

How will we measure success?

To measure success, we need to measure the real world dimensions our ports compete in.  We will develop a performance index to rate goods movement through our California ports and corridors and compare ratings to goods moved via the Canal to any port in the United States.  This index will allow everyone to measure velocity, efficiency, environmental impact and other factors that affect the costs of goods movement. The Beat the Canal initiative aims to make our ports and corridors win this comparison.

Who will be invited to participate in designing the Beat the Canal initiative?
As the program unfolds, we intend to invite the entire goods movement supply chain, including the ports, labor, ocean carriers, railroads, trucking, supportive environmental interests, retailers, wholesale traders, agriculture, government agencies, community organizations, business alliances and regional institutes and researchers.

The Panama Canal is an enormous threat to the entire goods movement industry in California. We don’t want to lose cargo to other ports and regions on account of uncertainty or doubt about our willingness to confront this challenge. None of the interested parties can or should fight this battle alone. Everyone must work together.

 Southern California National Freight Gateway Collaboration


The Southern California National Freight Gateway Collaboration (Collaboration) was formalized through a Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) signed by regional, state, and federal agencies to foster cooperation to facilitate the movement of goods through Southern California while addressing the myriad infrastructure, environmental, and quality of life challenges presented by freight movement. The Collaboration represents an unprecedented level of coordination and consensus in one of the largest and most complex regions in the nation. 
The Collaboration continues to advance Southern California’s role as a national leader in the identification of goods movement solutions. Given the need for extensive dialogue and coordination among the large and diverse group of stakeholders, the Collaboration must identify mechanisms to facilitate cooperation while supporting existing institutional structures and responsibilities for freight transportation systems and environmental processes. 

Slideshow: http://freightcollaboration.org/docManager/1000000041/Beat%20the%20Canal%20-%20Green%20Tech%20Foundation.pdf

FreightWorks: On The Move

Serving as the unparalleled freight gateway to the U.S., Southern California provides enormous economic benefits to the nation but faces numerous regional challenges as a result. Our recently completed publication, “On the Move” outlines the unique role of Southern California to the nation. This brochure is an ideal tool to inform elected officials, state and federal legislators, and the public about the contributions of goods movement and the FreightWorks vision. Copies of the brochure may be downloaded here.  more »

Video:  http://www.scag.ca.gov/goodsmove/video.htm

FreightWorks -- Southern California Delivers the Goods

FreightWorks represents an unprecedented partnership among diverse public and private stakeholders that is advancing the implementation of goods movement projects of national significance in Southern California.  more »

Successful Collaboration Meeting on January 31st!

On January 31, 2011, regional, State, and Federal leaders and experts met to continue to identify mechanisms to facilitate the movement of goods through Southern California while addressing the myriad infrastructure, environmental, and quality of life challenges presented by freight movement. Meeting materials are now available.  more »
What Happened to the Improved Rail Lines Directly from the LA/Long Beach Ports to the High Desert Corridor?

Initiated by Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich and San Bernardino County Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt, the High Desert Corridor is intended to improve mobility of goods and motorists, enhance traffic safety and improve air quality by removing thousands of trucks from the 710, the 60, Interstate 10 and Interstate 15.

Dubbed the “E-220,” the High Desert Corridor will be a brand-new, state-of-the-art expressway, up to eight lanes, running from Palmdale to and beyond Victorville.

“In conjunction with the LA/Palmdale Airport and the ‘inland port’, this vital corridor will improve mobility, spur expansion of manufacturing and industrial development in the High Desert, and create a vital, missing goods movement link in Southern California that will improve regional congestion throughout Los Angeles and San Bernardino Counties caused by trucks,” said Antonovich.

The High Desert is growing into a major “inland port” complex. At both the Palmdale Airport and Southern California Logistics Airport (formerly George Air Force Base in Victorville), major inter-modal freight yards are in development or on the drawing board. These facilities will handle the large shipping containers which must now be put onto trucks and trains exclusively in the Los Angeles and Long Beach Harbors and at yards along our local freeways today.

New logistics-related jobs in the High Desert will reduce the need for thousands of commuters to drive to work in the urban and coastal communities.

Every freight train that speeds to the High Desert takes 200 trucks off of Los Angeles streets and highways. Every freight truck that doesn’t have to wait hours at the harbor for its load means shorter and safer commutes, higher productivity and better air quality.

Shipments to our ports now account for almost 40% of all international trade nationally. In the next few decades, shipments are expected to triple. Speeding freight out of the Los Angeles basin isn’t just a good idea – it is one of the only ways to maintain the harbors and our region’s economic and transportation system.

That is why both Los Angeles and San Bernardino Counties have worked together closely to form the High Desert Corridor Joint Powers Authority and Inland Port Task Force to implement these vital projects.

The High Desert Corridor and Inland ports will provide an historic opportunity to shape our future, enhance economic growth and clean the air.

Chairman Brad Mitzelfelt, Supervisor, San Bernardino County First District
Vice-Chairman Michael Antonovich, Supervisor, Los Angeles County Fifth District
Board Member Jim Nehmans, Mayor of Adelanto
Board Member Tim Jasper, Mayor Pro Tem, Town of Apple Valley
Board Member Henry Hearns, Mayor of Lancaster
Board Member James Ledford, Mayor of Palmdale
Board Member Norm Hickling, Deputy, Los Angeles County Fifth District
Board Member Mike Rothschild, Councilman, City of Victorville

Background of the Multi-County Goods Movement:

Multi-County Goods Movement Action Plan
 Executive Summary, April 2008


 Potential Future Goods Movement System
The future system will consist of a series of integral components designed to
innovate the way goods are currently moved through the region.

 Regional Mainline Rail Capacity – Continued growth in mainline rail capacity
throughout the region will increase passenger rail services as well as freight
rail service to compete with trucking.

Which led to the next study:

 Goods Movement, Regional Transportation Plan 2012-2035


 Table 16 Locomotive/Rail: Agency Major Implementation Actions
Year(s) Agency Agency Action

2012 SCAG ƒƒ
  • Incorporate “footprint” and planning for wayside power into expansion of rail lines in financially constrained 2012 RTP
  • ƒƒIncorporate funding to support rail evaluation and demonstration efforts into financially constrained 
  •  Implement plan of advocacy to secure action by federal or other governments where required to implement any related elements of the SIP or RTP; include evaluation of impacts of zero-emission technologies on national priorities, (e.g. energy security, energy cost certainty, interstate transportation, climate protection)

2012–2014 SCAG, with AQMD/ARB on SIP

  • ƒƒEvaluate and determine practicability of applying existing electrified rail technologies to region (by 2013)
  • ƒƒEvaluate potential funding and implementation mechanisms for zero and near zero emission locomotives, and wayside power, including:
  • ƒƒPrivate (railroads); federal, state, local government; public-private partnerships; electric utility

2015–2016 SCAG, with AQMD/ARB on SIP
  • ƒƒIf existing electrified rail technologies are determined practicable for the region, identify technologies, infrastructure, and implementation mechanisms in RTP amendment and next major SIP

2018–2020 SCAG, with AQMD/ARB on SIP
  • ƒIf existing electrified rail technologies were determined to not be practicable for the region, resolve need for wayside power for new rail technologies; decision would be based upon whether new technologies can achieve sufficient zero-emission range without wayside power
  • ƒIf wayside power is needed, incorporate “footprint” and planning for wayside power into rail lines into 2020 RTP and next major SIP
  • ƒƒIncorporate recommendations regarding type of funding and implementation mechanisms into constrained RTP and next major SIP, including:
ƒƒ                        Strategy description and timeframe for any rules
ƒƒ                        Strategy description, potential funding sources and timeframe for any incentives

If you read the above study, solving the goods transportation from the ports via rail is far into the future. Is this why a 710 tunnel is needed to provide for a secondary freeway route to the High Desert Corridor and the Southern California Rail Complex in Victorville before adequate rail lines from the ports to the corridor are possibly built? Of course, the 710 tunnel will direct some port truck traffic to the 210 north, relieving congestion on the 60, 210, and 10 freeways heading to the 15 north and then to Victorville. But the 710 tunnel could be only a temporary solution for goods movement from the ports if new rail lines from the ports to Victorville are constructed, so why would any company or country be interested in investing in a possibly temporary solution as the time of money-making-tunnel use by port trucks may be limited and which, possibly, may be before they would get an adequate return on their investment?

The Year of Moving Forward


 Posted on by Robert Horr


The transportation infrastructure community may some day look back on this week as the moment when the tolling industry began its great push forward.

This morning, during its quarterly board meeting in Miami, Florida, IBTTA is officially launching Moving America Forward, an awareness campaign to highlight the fundamental role of tolling in helping to solve the transportation infrastructure crisis.

If you’ve attended any of our recent conferences or followed our publications, you know this campaign has been in development for several months. Now, with a new year dawning, we’re rolling into high gear (with speed and sheer volume that can only be accommodated by all-electronic toll lanes).

The groundwork is in place. We’re ready to be tough and resilient. And we’re determined to deliver on our part of the solution to what Rep. Bill Shuster, incoming Chairman of the U.S. House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, refers to as transportation’s “own version of a fiscal cliff”.

Through 2013 and beyond, Moving America Forward will set out a strong and consistent message, helping media, policy-makers, and the driving public understand the role of user financing in supporting safe, reliable highway infrastructure. Robert Poole, co-founder of the Reason Foundation, had this to say when we launched the campaign:

“It’s about time policy-makers at all levels of government took a serious look at tolling as an effective alternative to traditional funding options. And with weak public and political support for raising any tax in this struggling economy, tolling continues to stand out as the way to go.”

While we’re in Miami, we’re learning that resilience is not just financial. On Thursday afternoon, IBTTA is convening a group of 20 thought leaders from a variety of disciplines for A Forum on Super Storm Sandy:  Resilience and Adaptation.”  In his blog post this week, IBTTA Executive Director and CEO Pat Jones stressed the value of sharing best practices in emergency preparedness and management and helping policy-makers make the most informed decisions about transportation safety and stability.

“We can be assured that severe weather will continue to be a major factor in both the short- and long-term stability of our transportation infrastructure,” Jones wrote, so “the severe weather panel is the beginning of an ongoing conversation.”

Everyone in this industry knows that tolling delivers a safer, more reliable drive for many millions of customers each year. With the launch of Moving America Forward, IBTTA has assembled the financial and staff resources to translate that knowledge into action. With the transportation funding crisis receiving significant attention, and severe events like Hurricane Sandy putting a different kind of spotlight on highway infrastructure, this is our moment to put forward the arguments and win the decisions that will benefit our members, our customers, and the public at large.

In the months ahead, you can expect IBTTA to adopt a much more visible, vibrant posture. You’ll see us in the media. You’ll be able to follow our activities on social media, and on this blog. And you can expect us to call on you for advice and support. Important victories are rarely won easily, but with all the right elements in place, 2013 really is shaping up as the year of moving forward.

Rob Horr is President of the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association and Executive Director of the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority in Alexandria Bay, NY.