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    Local Officials Have Apparently Discussed Potential For "Truck Inspection Facility" on 710 Fwy North of 405; Details Sketchy

    (August 25, 2004) -- Local officials have apparently discussed the possibility of a "truck inspection facility" on the 710 freeway north of its junction with the 405 freeway.

    That's the revelation emerging, with details sketchy, after questioning of Port of Long Beach Executive Director Richard Steinke by 6th district Councilwoman Laura Richardson, and follow-up by 8th district and 9th district Councilmembers Rae Gabelich and Val Lerch at an August 24, 2004 LB Council budget session.

    "I had an opportunity to read a report that I hadn't really heard anything about...potentially truck inspection facilities, and I was told that there was one potentially being discussed or considered with the Gateway COG [Council of Governments] and staff and others, potentially in Long Beach over by the Port," Councilwoman Richardson said...asked Mr. Steinke to show where it would be located.

    Mr. Steinke hadn't mentioned a potential "truck inspection facility" during his budget presentation...but didn't deny what Councilwoman Richardson said. Instead, he volunteered the 710 freeway factoid:

    "Councilwoman, I'm not familiar with the exact location in the harbor. I know there has been discussion with the city about locating it somewhere on the I-710," Mr. Steinke said, adding:

    One of the things that we would certainly want to do is make sure that it doesn't congest the Port any more than it currently is. If you're stopping trucks on the outbound side through an inspection station, we don't want to cause more congestion. One of the ideas I think that CalTrans and Highway Patrol were talking about is moving it up on the I-710 into a location that would allow for adequate pulloff and inspection of trucks and those kinds of things. I'm not familiar with a location right in the harbor that they've been talking about...

    Councilwoman Richardson turned to City Manager Jerry Miller:

    "...[W]hat concerned me in the report was it seemed like an extensive amount of conversations had taken place with city staff, Councilmembers, elected officials, the Mayor and the COG and yet I don't recall any discussion on the Council about it..."

    City Manager Miller replied, "We'll have to get back to you on that one. We did send you a memo on May 11, 2004 and we'll freshen it up and make sure you get it by tomorrow or the next day..."

    8th district Councilwoman Rae Gabelich followed up, "To talk just for a second about the inspection station that happens to be proposed to be in my district, right behind homes and schools, and I can tell you that that isn't going to be well-received by the community, so I hope that we have your support in finding a better location than the back end of a residential community."

    Mr. Steinke held his reply. 9th district Councilman Val Lerch then took the floor:

    Madam Mayor, I'm going to make a statement too: Ditto. I want to stay with the fact that we are in a process of expanding the Port...I want to know when we're going to stop this Port expansion to the detriment of the community. I have some serious questions. One of the things you said, and not to chastise you sir, but you said we're going to put a truck inspection station out on the 710 because we don't want to congest the Port, so you'll put it in my backyard, and my neighbor's backyard...I think we need to change that thinking process. I think we need to look at our citizens, and the health of our citizens, over this robust expansion that we're going after, that nobody in the community in this city really wants. Your job is to create the best Port in the world and I understand that, but it's at the detriment of the citizens of this community, and we've got to start asking those questions.

    Mr. Steinke replied:

    I think over the past several years, the Port has tried to be a responsible environmental steward and to grow responsibly. The Intermodal Container Transfer Facility that was built in the mid 1980s was a forward thinking project to try to bring more cargo on rail. The Alameda Corridor was another project to try to encourage more traffic to go off the freeways and to get on on-dock rail. We're continuing to do those types of things.

    The inspection station that you both referred to. That's not a Port-driven or directed project. That's either CalTrans or its the Highway Patrol. We're not encouraging that to be something that's initiated by the Harbor Dept. as far as an inspection station. That is not something that we would control. It's not something that's in our jurisdiction.

    I think we are going to reach a point where there is going to be the ability to not be able to grow either physically or be able to handle more cargo. I think you're going to get to a saturation point where cargo will divert to other ports. I don't think we will continue to grow physically.


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