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    News

    Hankla Speech On Port Growth & Trade Advises Marketing Infrastructure Projects To Public As Mitigation; Read Full Text of May 2003 Speech


    (June 16, 2003) -- Former LB City Manager and current Alameda Corridor Transportation Authority (ACTA) CEO James C. Hankla, appointed by LB Mayor Beverly O'Neill to the LB Board of Harbor Commissioners subject to a June 17 Council vote, told a World Trade Week audience one month ago that trade-related transportation infrastructure projects "must be marketed to the public as mitigation, much like the Alameda Corridor was marketed as a mitigation project."

    In his May 16 LB address (available in the media section of ACTA's web site and posted by LBReport.com in full on a link below), Mr. Hankla said in pertinent part:

    "Many key transportation arteries cut through relatively disadvantaged areas, and many residents say -- increasingly -- that they are feeling a disproportionate share of the negative impacts of trade, most notably emissions from trucks. It's a legitimate concern receiving increasing attention by regulatory agencies such as the South Coast Air Quality Management District, and in the news media, including a recent piece in California Journal. To be sure, the international trade industry provides jobs and other economic benefits to many of these residents. But we need to do a better job of marketing not only the economic benefits of international trade but also the mitigation provided by infrastructure projects. Often forgotten about the Alameda Corridor is our value to the environment -- for example, during construction we disposed of approximately 450,000 tons of soil contaminated by previous operations, and environmental reports projected that the project would reduce emissions from trains 28 percent and automobiles and trucks by 54 percent. One locomotive on the Corridor replaces 250 trucks on the freeway."

    Some extended excerpts:

    [T]he Alameda Corridor is working as intended, providing a quicker way to move cargo between the ports and downtown Los Angeles rail yards while minimizing the impact of world trade on local communities by eliminating at-grade rail crossings, reducing traffic congestion and improving air quality. And, the Alameda Corridor can do more, which I will talk about a little later.

    [F]or our region to reap fully the undeniable economic benefits of international trade, we need to stop thinking of goods movement as a series of separate projects and instead develop an integrated approach to improving our trade-related transportation infrastructure...[T]o advance this cause, international trade needs champions -- visible and diligent spokespersons who not only advocate an integrated approach but educate the public and policymakers about the economic importance of international trade. Moreover, the projects that make up the transportation system need to be marketed as a mitigation of the negative consequences of international trade -- traffic congestion, air pollution and the like. Otherwise, international trade will suffocate in its own success. In other words, we need to perfect the blessing of international trade while avoiding its curse...

    ...The volume of goods is beginning to overwhelm our transportation infrastructure, leading to increasingly vocal -- and quite legitimate -- public concerns about traffic congestion and air pollution. Trade-related transportation infrastructure must mitigate the impacts of commerce by eliminating at-grade railroad crossings, reducing traffic congestion and limiting air pollution, and infrastructure projects must be marketed to the public as mitigation, much like the Alameda Corridor was marketed as a mitigation project. Otherwise the public will have a difficult time seeing the direct benefits of a new rail line or a freeway capacity enhancement or a new grade separation.

    Let me add here a note about environmental justice. Many key transportation arteries cut through relatively disadvantaged areas, and many residents say -- increasingly -- that they are feeling a disproportionate share of the negative impacts of trade, most notably emissions from trucks. Itís a legitimate concern receiving increasing attention by regulatory agencies such as the South Coast Air Quality Management District, and in the news media, including a recent piece in California Journal. To be sure, the international trade industry provides jobs and other economic benefits to many of these residents. But we need to do a better job of marketing not only the economic benefits of international trade but also the mitigation provided by infrastructure projects. Often forgotten about the Alameda Corridor is our value to the environment -- for example, during construction we disposed of approximately 450,000 tons of soil contaminated by previous operations, and environmental reports projected that the project would reduce emissions from trains 28 percent and automobiles and trucks by 54 percent. One locomotive on the Corridor replaces 250 trucks on the freeway.

    LBReport.com posts Mr. Hankla's World Trade Week speech in its entirety at: Hankla Address, May 16, 2003.

    Four days later, Mr. Hankla spoke during a LB City Council study session on the I-710 Major Corridor Study. LBReport.com has posted Mr. Hankla's May 20 Council presentation and colloquy in detail at: Hankla City Council I-710 Study Session presentation, May 20, 2003.

    Mr. Hankla's appearance took place amid public and official consternation over some I-710 freeway expansion options that if implemented could take LB homes and businesses. In late April, Mayor O'Neill and City Manager Miller issued a joint memorandum urging against expansion options that would take LB properties. Advocates of 710 freeway expansion frequently argue it is needed to accommodate projected increases in Port-related truck traffic.

    Against this backdrop, Mr. Hankla told the City Council:

    "Currently, the Alameda Corridor is doing approximately 35 trains a day. The capacity, ladies and gentlemen, of the Alameda Corridor is 150 trains per day. Every train is worth 250 trucks," Mr Hankla told the Council, adding, "Increasing the volume of containers and the economic and quality-of-life impacts of this commerce require a comprehensive solution involving rail and truck infrastructure improvements, as well as operational changes at port terminals and local distribution centers."

    Mr. Hankla's remarks drew spirited audience applause.

    On May 22, the L.A. County Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board voted on a motion to avoid residential and business property takings to the extent feasible...and explore non-standard design options that don't require residential property takings. The motion by County Supervisor/MTA Director Gloria Molina also sought a report on utilization of the Alameda Corridor.

    "I am asking that a report be brought back that gives us direct information as as to what is the utilization [of the Alameda Corridor], what are the prospects," Molina said at the MTA Board meeting (reported in detail by LBReport.com), adding:

    "The promise was to this Board and to this community as they endured all of that building and disruption in those neighborhoods, that truck traffic would be taken off of many of our freeways, and to maximize the utilization of that cargo."

    Supervisor Knabe responded to Supervisor Molina's Alameda Corridor comments:

    Dir/Sup. Knabe: While I support Supervisor Molina's motion, I'm not sure, and hopefully this study will come back...I don't think we were ever, I mean obviously maybe a few truck reduction, but the Alameda Corridor was not to reduce, was never intended to reduce truck traffic on the 710 freeway. There may be some opportunities. Two things have changed, obviously with all the litigation, things that went by, there are some additional situations with, I guess the rate structures as it relates to trains versus trucks in the inland empire that have impacted usage on the Corridor as well too, so things would all have to be worked out, but the biggest part of the Alameda Corridor now will be to finish up the Alameda Corridor east which should have a positive impact as well too...

    Dir/Sup. Molina (interjecting): But if there's no trains on it, why bother?

    [audience laughter]

    Dir/Sup. Knabe: OK Gloria, I mean if you say there's no trains, there's far from no trains...

    Dir/Sup. Molina: That's why we need the report [crosstalk] ...

    Dir/Sup. Knabe: I mean there's a capacity issue, that if you had the full capacity what the Corridor could handle, it couldn't go east, I mean we'd have another problem. So, but I think the [requested] report's good and obviously I support the motion.

    LB Mayor Beverly O'Neill has appointed Mr. Hankla to the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners. Under the City Charter, that appointment requires confirmation by the LB City Council. A Council vote on Mr. Hankla's Harbor Commission appointment is agendized for the June 17 Council meeting.


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