Alameda Corridor Chairwoman Hahn Attributes Project Success To Cooperation, Community Benefits

Alameda Corridor Chairwoman Hahn Attributes Project Success to Cooperation, Community Benefits

SEPTEMBER 26, 2002

WASHINGTON, D.C. Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn testified before a joint hearing of the Senate Finance Committee and the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on Wednesday.  The committees are currently examining alternatives for financing the nation’s surface transportation system, and Councilwoman Hahn testified regarding the success of the Alameda Corridor in the Los Angeles Basin.  The Councilwoman attributed the success of the Alameda Corridor freight rail expressway project to cooperation among various governments and competitors, and praised the project’s direct benefits to local communities.

“The Alameda Corridor has demonstrated that governments can work together, and they can work with the private sector, putting aside competition for the benefit of greater economic and societal good,” Councilwoman Hahn, Chairwoman of the Alameda Corridor Transportation Authority (ACTA) Governing Board, said during her testimony.  “Public-private partnerships do in fact work and should be promoted and encouraged by federal transportation legislation.”

The Councilwoman also explained that the project has positively impacted surrounding communities. By eliminating more than 200 at-grade railroad crossings, the Alameda Corridor is projected to reduce emissions from idling trucks and automobiles by 54 percent, slash delays at railroad crossings by 90 percent and cut noise pollution by 90 percent.  In addition, Hahn testified that ACTA provided construction-industry specific job training to almost 1,300 local residents as well as life-skill training to 447 young adults who performed community beautification projects through the Alameda Corridor Conservation Corps.

“We have proven that communities don’t have to sacrifice quality of life to benefit from international trade and port and economic activity,” Councilwoman Hahn explained.

The Alameda Corridor is a 20-mile-long freight rail expressway linking the nation’s two busiest ports, Long Beach and Los Angeles, to the rail yards near downtown Los Angeles. A trip between the ports and the rail yards that used to take more than two hours on branch rail lines now takes about 45 minutes on the Alameda Corridor, making cargo movements more efficient and increasing the economic benefits of burgeoning international trade.  Today, approximately 35 freight trains per day utilize the Alameda Corridor.  That number is expected to increase to 100 trains per day by 2020 as cargo volumes increase.

The $2.4 billion project opened April 15 on time and on budget.  Funding came from multiple sources, including the U.S. Department of Transportation; the California Transportation Commission; the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA); the Port of Long Beach; the Port of Los Angeles; various other federal, state and local sources, and private investors.  The project was built by ACTA, a joint powers authority governed by representatives of the two ports, the Long Beach and Los Angeles city councils and the MTA.  The Alameda Corridor is operated by the two ports together with the Union Pacific Railroad and The Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway.

Among those who have praised the Alameda Corridor are U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta, former Transportation Secretaries Federico Peña, Samuel Skinner and Rodney Slater, and California Gov. Gray Davis.

“The Alameda Corridor has been considered by some as a model for the construction of major public works projects,” Hahn said.  “We are both pleased with our success and are happy to share our experience, as an example, with federal lawmakers.”