We’ve been writing recently about the $2.4 billion that Metro is applying for from various state programs. Next up: The Trade Corridor Enhancement Program (TCEP), which awards $300 million annually for projects to improve freight corridors in California.
The TCEP is a big deal for Los Angeles County. We are home to the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the two busiest ports in the United States that handle over 85 percent of containerized trade that moves through the state. Many of those containers end up on trucks and freight trains that deliver goods throughout the U.S.
And this: goods movement dependent industries total about one-third of Los Angeles County’s economy and support about one-third of the county’s jobs.
As with other state funds, TCEP funds would be combined with funds from Measures R and M — Metro’s two most recent sales tax measures — for strategic investment in freight-enhancing projects.
Metro is applying for $742.6 million in TCEP funds to help fund five projects:
•The Interstate 5 Golden State Chokepoint Relief Project would add an HOV lane and truck lanes between the 14 freeway and Parker Road in the Santa Clarita area.
The 5 freeway is a critical international trade corridor stretching nearly 800 miles in California and running from Mexico to Canada. This segment is hemmed in by mountains and there are no parallel freeways — which makes traffic highly vulnerable to traffic accidents and weather disruptions.
Project estimates found it would save 2.2 million hours of truck travel time valued at $35 million over the first 20 years of operation in addition to speeding up car travel and making it safer by separating cars and trucks.
•State Route 71 Freeway Conversion Project in the San Gabriel Valley will upgrade the 71 to a full freeway between the 10 freeway and Rio Rancho Road.
•SR-57/60 Confluence Project would improve this notoriously congested interchange in Diamond Bar.
•I-605/SR-91 Interchange Improvement Project in the Gateway Cities would upgrade this freeway interchange that frequently slows traffic on both the 605 and 91.
•America’s Global Freight Gateway: Southern California Rail Project. Metro will continue to partner with the Port of Los Angeles, Port of Long Beach and that Alameda Corridor East Transportation Authority for this ongoing project that would allow more containers to go directly to trains on the dock and eliminate an estimated 5,900 truck trips per day on local roads. The project also is working to eliminate some of the most hazardous freight railroad street crossings (including the Rosecrans/Marquardt Grade Separation project).
Senate Bill 1 was approved by the Legislature in 2017 and signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown. The bill raised the state gas tax (for the first time in 23 years) and state vehicle fees and will supply a perpetual source of funding to fix California roadways, improve transit and build walking and biking projects.
Metro feels that it is very well positioned to win SB 1 funding because we have local funding to match state funding courtesy of Measures R and M. Those are the sales tax measures that L.A. County voters approved in 2008 and ’16, respectively, to fund a long list of transportation projects.