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A little relief for local freeways

October 20, 2010 |  3:06 pm

The Port of Los Angeles says it feels your daily commute pain, as you weave among cargo-laden truck traffic on local freeways, and it says it wants to provide a little relief.

The port received a boost toward that goal Wednesday with a federal grant that will help move more cargo by railroad.

The help comes in the form of a $16-million federal TIGER II grant, (as in "two"), an acronym that conceals another of those awful federal government appellations.

TIGER here stands for the second round of funding for the federal government's Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery program, which this time disbursed about $600 million for projects nationwide.

The Port of Los Angeles received only $16 million, but the money will help the port move closer to fully funding its West Basin Railyard.

Once built, port officials said, the rail yard will alleviate the need for 2,300 truck trips a day to transcontinental rail hubs like those south of downtown Los Angeles that take port cargo across the U.S.

“It is projects like this that put people to work, both in the 37th District and across the nation, and improve the efficiency and capabilities of vital national infrastructure sites, like the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach," said Rep. Laura Richardson (D-Long Beach).

Aside from reducing some of the overwhelming amount of truck traffic to and from the port, the rail yard will also help the Alameda Corridor.

The corridor is the 20-mile express rail truck route that connects the harbor to the same transcontinental rail hubs. It relies on container fees to pay off the remaining debt from its $2.4-billion construction price tag.

The Alameda Corridor Transportation Board may have to seek a loan from both ports if traffic through the corridor fails to recover quickly enough from the global recession.

“This is a significant boost for a port project that is critical to the prosperity of the Los Angeles region,” said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

The rail yard is expected to cost about $126 million.

-- Ronald D. White

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