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    News in Depth

    House Defies Bush Veto Threat, Passes Nat'l Transportation Bill Incl. Millender-McDonald's "Projects of Nat'l & Regional Significance"

    Includes $600,000 to "provide landscape enhancement of an existing open culvert on Atherton Street [in] Long Beach."

    (April 2, 2004) -- Defying a veto threat from President George W. Bush, the GOP-led House of Representatives on April 2 passed a major national Transportation bill (the "Transportation Equity Act, a Legacy for Users" or TEA-LU), including the cargo concept of federal funding for goods movement projects of national and regional significance advanced in fall 2003 by Congresswoman Juanita Millender-McDonald (D., LB-Carson).

    LB City Hall has strongly lobbied for the bill which includes funding for big ticket local items including a Gerald Desmond bridge upgrade, I-710 freeway improvements, reconfiguration of the southern end of the 710 freeway and development of an Alameda Corridor East.

    Atherton culvert, 3/30/04Of ELB interest, the bill allocates $600,000 to "provide landscape enhancement of an existing open culvert on Atherton Street [in] Long Beach" (between McNab and Knoxville Aves. in the area of CSULB and Palo Verde Ave.)

    The bill text does not specify covering the channel.

    Congresswoman Millender-McDonald, a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, played a key role in drafting and advancing the six-year TEA-LU legislation. The House bill includes the following local items:

    • $1,000,000 - for City of Long Beach to reconstruct I-710 southern terminus off ramps;

    • $600,000 - for City of Long Beach to provide landscape enhancement of an existing open culvert on Atherton Street;

    • $1,500,000 - for City of Long Beach to construct pedestrian streetscape improvements on Ocean Blvd and Anaheim Street in Long Beach, including lighting landscaping and irrigation, and seating, drinking fountains, bicycle racks and trash receptacles;

    • $1,000,000 - for City of Long Beach to develop and implement traffic calming measures for traffic exiting the I-710 into Long Beach.

    • $1,000,000 - for City of Long Beach to acquire property and construct a park and ride structure in Downtown Long Beach.

    • $5,630,000 - for the City of Signal Hill to widen & realign Cherry Avenue from 19th Street to one block south of Pacific Coast Highway;

    • $2,000,000 - for the City of Carson to widen Wilmington Ave. from 223rd street including ramp modifications;

    • $3,000,000 - for L.A. County to reconstruct and widen Del Amo Blvd. to four lanes between Normandie Ave and New Hampshire Ave;

    • $1.5 million - for City of Compton to rehabilitate arterials;

    • $3,000,000 - for City of Compton to design and implement Intelligent Transportation Systems on Long Beach Boulevard, Compton Boulevard, Wilmington Avenue, Walnut Avenue including communication interface with the Los Angeles County ITS System;

    • $3,000,000 - for Gateway Cities to implement intelligent management & logistics measures to improve freight movement;

    • $3,250,000 - for Gateway Cities for Diesel Emissions Reduction Program;

    • $1,250,000 - for Gateway Cities for FHWA Diesel Emissions Reduction Program;

    • $1,050,000 - for City of Carson to construct 213th Street pedestrian bridge to provide safe passage for pedestrians and wheelchairs;

    • $3.5 million - for Watts to implement streetscape project on Central Avenue from 103rd Street to Watts / 103rd Street Station;

    • $4,500,000 - for Long Beach Transit to purchase ten clean fuel busses

    • $1,620,000 - for City of Compton to improve 33 bus stops in the local transit system and purchase 7 CNG buses;

    • $1,000,000 - for Long Beach Transit to install security cameras on busses;

    • $3.000,000 - for Long Beach Transit to purchase one larger (75 passengers) and two smaller (40 passengers) ferryboats and construct related dock work to facilitate the use and accessibility of the ferryboats;

    • $500,000 - for City of Carson to purchase two tripper buses;

    • $250,000 - for City of Carson to purchase one trolley-bus vehicle

    • $250,000 - for City of Carson to purchase one bus;

    • $1,500,000 - for City of Carson/South Bay to construct a transit center to serve existing routes and additional MTA lines.

    • $1,500,000 - for City of Compton to construct fuel-dispensing facility for the transit CNG bus fleet.

    • $3.1 million - for City of Compton to expand existing transit center in to a multi modal transportation building.

    • $1,250,000 - for City of Los Angeles for First Street Bridge realignment. 04-02-04 TEA-LU release

    • $7,500,000 - for City of Los Angeles to upgrade San Fernando Road corridor to include traffic calming measures.

    • $2,500,000 - for City of Los Angeles to improve Glendale Freeway terminus to provide pedestrian access, construct sound barriers, and implement landscaping.

    • $2,000,000 - for City of Los Angeles to upgrade Olympic Boulevard between Vermont Avenue and Western Avenue to improve pedestrian safety and reduce congestion.

    • $1,000,000 - for City of Los Angeles to improve Central Avenue Historic Corridor Streetscape.

    • $6,500,000 - for City of Los Angeles to widen roads, construct bicycle land and parking facility to enhance access to Hansen Dam Recreation Area.

    • $837,628 - for City of Los Angeles to purchase clean fuel buses to improve bus service in South Los Angeles.

    Regional projects in TEA-LU include:

    • $15,500,000 - for Alameda Corridor East Gateway to America Trade Corridor Project, highway-railgrade separation along 35-mile corridor from Alameda Corridor (Hobart Junction) to Los Angeles-San Bernardino County line.

    • $300,000 - for Phase II of the Alameda Corridor East Project, constructing grade separation projects from East Los Angeles to Pomona.

    • $400,000 - for Los Angeles City College Red Line Pedestrian Connector Project to improve pedestrian access.

    Congresswoman Millender-McDonald was also instrumental in defeating a challenge to TEA-LU on the House floor, when a Georgia congressman offered an amendment that would have cut CA's share of six-year Transportation funding by over $282 million. Garnering the support of the entire CA Congressional delegation as well as bipartisan nationally, Congresswoman Millender-McDonald successfully defeated the amendment by a vote of 170-254.

    The House vote on passage of TEA-LU was a lopsided 357-65, theoretically veto-proof, although the $275 billion House measure must now be reconciled in a House-Senate conference committee with a Senate version that seeks to spend $318 billion. The Senate version does not contain the verbiage for projects of "national and regional significance"...or the Atherton St. culvert "landscape enhancement" money...and the fate of these items remains to be seen.

    President Bush has theatened to veto the Transportation bill if it exceeds the administration's transportation spending proposal of $256 billion.

    Goods movement pertains to cargo transportation, including containerized intermodal shipment. In the LB area, goods movement involves transporting cargo to and from the Ports of LB and L.A. by freeway, rail or both. Increasing the capacity of freeways (esp. the 710) and rail lines is desired by the Ports of LB and L.A., trade and business interests and most of local officialdom to handle what they call responsible growth. Others locally have questioned the wisdom of continued Port growth...and have begun to insist on reducing current levels of air pollution before inviting further Port growth.

    As first reported by, in Nov. 2003 LB Mayor Beverly O'Neill used a Washington, DC visit in her capacity with the U.S. Conference of Mayors to support the omnibus national transportation bill. During the visit, Congresswoman Millender-McDonald publicly indicated she favored having her goods movement language incorporated into the omnibus TEA-LU Transportation Bill...and she succeeded.

    The House version of TEA-LU originally sought $375 billion in spending...but was downsized to $275 billion (projects of regional and national significance were reduced to $6.6 billion over six years instead of $17.6 billion.).

    The House vote comes less exactly two weeks after a March 19 forum held by Congresswoman Millender-McDonald, Assemblyman Alan Lowenthal (D., LB-SP-PV), and LB Vice Mayor Frank Colonna, Board president of the Gateway Cities Council of Governments entitled "Growing Our Region Responsibly -- Taking the Next Step". posts below the "projects of national and regional significance" text from the House TEA-LU bill:


      (a) FINDINGS- Congress finds the following:

        (1) Under current law, surface transportation programs rely primarily on formula capital apportionments to States.

        (2) Despite the significant increase for surface transportation program funding in the Transportation Equity Act of the 21st Century, current levels of investment are insufficient to fund critical high-cost transportation infrastructure facilities that address critical national economic and transportation needs.

        (3) Critical high-cost transportation infrastructure facilities often include multiple levels of government, agencies, modes of transportation, and transportation goals and planning processes that are not easily addressed or funded within existing surface transportation program categories.

        (4) Projects of national and regional significance have national and regional benefits, including improving economic productivity by facilitating international trade, relieving congestion, and improving transportation safety by facilitating passenger and freight movement.

        (5) The benefits of such projects described in paragraph (4) accrue to local areas, States, and the Nation as a result of the effect such projects have on the national transportation system.

        (6) A program dedicated to constructing projects of national and regional significance is necessary to improve the safe, secure, and efficient movement of people and goods throughout the United States and improve the health and welfare of the national economy.

      (b) ESTABLISHMENT OF PROGRAM- The Secretary shall establish a program to provide grants to qualified entities for projects of national and regional significance.


      (e) APPLICATIONS- Each qualified entity seeking to receive a grant under this section for an eligible project shall submit to the Secretary an application in such form and in accordance with such requirements as the Secretary shall establish.


        (1) IN GENERAL- The Secretary shall--

          (A) establish criteria for selecting among projects that meet the eligibility criteria specified in subsection (d);

          (B) conduct a national solicitation for applications; and

          (C) award grants on a competitive basis.

        (2) CRITERIA FOR GRANTS- The Secretary may approve a grant under this section for a project only if the Secretary determines that the project--

          (A) is based on the results of preliminary engineering;

          (B) is justified based on the project's ability--

            (i) to generate national economic benefits, including creating jobs, expanding business opportunities, and impacting the gross domestic product;

            (ii) to reduce congestion, including impacts in the State, region, and Nation;

            (iii) to improve transportation safety, including reducing transportation accidents, injuries, and fatalities;

            (iv) to otherwise enhance the national transportation system; and

            (v) to garner support for non-Federal financial commitments and provide evidence of stable and dependable financing sources to construct, maintain, and operate the infrastructure facility; and

          (C) is supported by an acceptable degree of non-Federal financial commitments, including evidence of stable and dependable financing sources to construct, maintain, and operate the infrastructure facility.



    (a)IN GENERAL. The Secretary shall establish and implement a pilot program to make allocations to States for the construction of projects that separate commercial truck traffic from other motor vehicle traffic. A State must submit an application to the Secretary in order to 16 receive an allocation under this section.


    (1)PRIORITY. In the selection process under this section,the Secretary shall give priority to projects that provide additional capacity.

    (2)SELECTION FACTORS. In making allocations under this section,the Secretary shall consider the following factors:

    (A)The extent to which the project will improve the safe and efficient movement of freight.

    (B)The extent to which the project provides positive separation of commercial trucks from other motor vehicle traffic.

    (C)The extent to which the project connects an intermodal freight facility or an international port of entry to the Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways by providing limited access lanes that allow commercial truck traffic to enter the Interstate System at the posted speed limit.

    (D)The extent to which the project will remove truck traffic from surface streets.

    (E)The extent to which travel time is expected to be reduced as a result of the proposed 18 project.19

    (F)The extent of leveraging of Federal funds provided to carry out this section, including

    (i)use of innovative financing;

    (ii)combination with funding provided under other sections of this Act and title 23, United States Code;and

    (iii)combination with other sources of Federal,State,local,or private funding.

    (c)FEDERAL SHARE. The Federal share of the cost of a project under this section shall be determined in accordance with section 120(b)of title 23,United States Code...


    (a)ESTABLISHMENT. In cooperation with appropriate State,regional,and local governments,the Secretary shall establish a pilot program to address the shortage of long-term parking for commercial motor vehicles on the National Highway System.


    (1)IN GENERAL. The Secretary shall allocate funds made available to carry out this section among States,metropolitan planning organizations,and local governments.

    (2)APPLICATIONS. To be eligible for an allocation under this section,a State,metropolitan planning organization,or local government shall submit to the Secretary an application at such time and containing such information as the Secretary may require.

    (3)ELIGIBLE PROJECTS. Funds allocated under this subsection shall be used by the recipient for projects described in an application approved by the Secretary.Such projects shall serve the National Highway System and may include the following:

    (A)Constructing safety rest areas,as defined in section 120(c)of title 23,United 2 States Code,that include parking for commercial motor vehicles.

    (B)Constructing commercial motor vehicle parking facilities adjacent to commercial truck stops and travel plazas.

    (C)Opening existing facilities to commercial motor vehicle parking,including inspection and weigh stations and park-and-ride facilities.

    (D)Promoting the availability of publicly or privately provided commercial motor vehicle parking on the National Highway System using intelligent transportation systems and other means.

    (E)Constructing turnouts along the National Highway System for commercial motor vehicles.

    (F)Making capital improvements to public commercial motor vehicle parking facilities currently closed on a seasonal basis to allow the facilities to remain open year-round.22

    (G)Improving the geometric design of interchanges on the National Highway System to improve access to commercial motor vehicle parking facilities.

    (4)PRIORITY. In allocating funds made available to carry out this section,the Secretary shall give priority to applicants that (A) demonstrate a severe shortage of commercial motor vehicle parking capacity in the corridor to be addressed; (B)have consulted with affected State and local governments,community groups,private providers of commercial motor vehicle parking, and motorist and trucking organizations; and (C) demonstrate that their proposed projects are likely to have positive effects on highway safety,traffic congestion,or air quality...

    The Ports of LB and L.A. are adjacent to Congresswoman Millender-McDonald's district, which includes roughly 80% of LB. The Ports are in the district of Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R., HB-LB-PV).

    Related coverage:

  • March 2004: Congress May OK $600,000 In Fed'l Dollars For "Landscape Enhancement" Of Atherton St. Culvert; Some Residents Want Culvert Covered; Issue Raised In 4th District Council Race

    March 2004: Cong. Millender-McDonald Thanks House Trans. Committee For Including "Projects of Nat'l & Regional Significance" In Massive House Transportation Bill; House Committee OK's Bill With Downsized Spending

  • March, 2004: Cong. Millender-McDonald, Ass'yman Lowenthal & Vice Mayor Colonna w/ Gateway Council of Gov'ts Schedule LB Forum On Strains To Transportation Infrastructure, Air Quality & Quality of Life From Region Becoming Nation's Primary Trade Gateway

  • Jan. 2004: Public Pounds Port-Related Pollution At Congresswoman Millender-McDonald "Open Mike" Town Meeting

  • Nov. 2003: Mayor O'Neill Lobbied In DC For Millender-McDonald Goods Movement Bill HR 3398 During Conf. of Mayors Event After Deflecting Public Questions About City's Lobbying Role At Council Meeting; Cong. Millender-McDonald Seeks To Make HR3398 Part of Six-Year Omnibus Nat'l Transportation Bill

  • Nov. 2003: Mayor O'Neill Attends DC Press Event As Part of U.S. Conf. of Mayors' Support for Proposed $375 Billion Transportation Bill

  • Nov. 2003: Reaction Pro & Con To Cong. Millender-McDonald's Proposed HR 3398 To Create System Of Fed'l Funds Fueling Goods Movement Projects of Nat'l Significance; Neighborhood Activist Confronts Mayor, Asks What Lobbying City Hall, U.S. Conf. of Mayors & Regional Gov't Groups Played in the Proposed Legislation; LB Area Chamber of Commerce Issues "Call To Action" With Suggested Form Letter Supporting the Bill

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