The Alameda Corridor is a 20-mile-long rail cargo expressway linking the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles to the transcontinental rail network near downtown Los Angeles. It is a series of bridges, underpasses, overpasses and street improvements that separate freight trains from street traffic and passenger trains, facilitating a more efficient transportation network. The project’s centerpiece is the Mid-Corridor Trench, which carries freight trains in an open trench that is 10 miles long, 33 feet deep and 50 feet wide between State Route 91 in Carson and 25th Street in Los Angeles. Construction began in April 1997. Operations began in April 2002.
International trade accounts for one of every 15 jobs in the Southern California region, according to the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation. The ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles are the two busiest container ports in the country and, together, in 2011 were the eighth busiest port complex in the world. The ports handled more than $300 billion in cargo in 2011. In the early 1980's it was recognized that the rail network serving the ports was not sufficient to accommodate rapidly increasing cargo volumes. As a result, the Alameda Corridor consolidated four low-speed branch rail lines, eliminating conflicts at more than 200 at-grade crossings, providing a high-speed freight expressway, and minimizing the impact on communities.
- More efficient freight rail movements
- Reduced traffic congestion by eliminating at-grade crossings
- Improvements to the adjacent Alameda Street
- Multiple community beautification projects
- Less train emissions
- Reduced vehicle delays and emmissions at railroad crossings
- Less train noise due to trench
The $2.4 billion Alameda Corridor was funded through a unique blend of public and private sources. Revenues from user fees paid by the railroads are used to retire nearly $2 billion in bond debt. Railroads initially paid $15.00 for each loaded 20-foot equivalent unit (TEU) container; $4.00 for each empty container, and $8 for other types of loaded rail cars such as tankers and coal carriers. Over a 30-year period, fees will increase between 1.5 percent and 4.5 percent per year, depending on inflation. 2015 fees are $22.92, $5.49 and $10.98 respectively. Effective January 1, 2016, fees are $23.26, $5.57 and $11.14 respectively.
Through its contractors and various community partnerships, ACTA administered several programs during construction designed to provide local residents and businesses with direct benefits that will long outlive actual construction.
- Construction industry-specific job training for 1,281 local residents, including 637 placed in union apprenticeships.
- 30% of all labor hours for Mid-Corridor Trench were performed by local residents living in adjacent zip codes
- Through aggressive outreach and technical assistance, ACTA helped disadvantaged (primarily small and woman- or minority-owned) businesses compete for and earn contracts worth more than $285 million, meeting the program goal of 22 percent of all contracts.
- On-the-job training and education credits for more than 420 young adults (ages 18-23), who performed community beautification work through the Conservation Corps program.
- One-on-one technical consulting for 25 local import-export companies and entry-level, international trade-specific job training for 20 local residents through a joint program with the World Trade Center Association Los Angeles-Long Beach.
North-End Project Area
- Massive Redondo Junction flyover separates passenger trains, freight trains and street traffic.
- Additional grade separations, eliminate traffic conflicts.
- Improved rail connections enhance cargo flow.
- Trench is 10 miles long, 33 feet deep, and 50 feet wide.
- Thirty bridges carry vehicular traffic and rail branch lines over the trench.
- Alameda Street improvements smooth traffic flow.
South-End Project Area
- Henry Ford Avenue Grade Separation, one mile long, adds rail capacity, and eliminates conflicts with street traffic.
- Terminal Island Freeway ramp improvements enhance traffic flow.
- Multiple higher-capacity rail bridges over water channels speed port access.