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    LB Mayor O'Neill, PoLB Harbor Comm'n President Topsy-Elvord React To Final Version Of Fed'l Trans. Bill

    (July 29, 2005) -- Following House passage this morning of the final version of a major federal Transportation bill ("Transportation Equity Act") which had been the focus of advocacy by the Port, the Mayor and LB City Hall for over two years, LB City Hall issued a written release at late afternoon.

    We post it verbatim, below.

    The City of Long Beach has learned that as a result of the today’s passage of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, and Efficient Transportation Equity Act of 2005 (HR 3) by the United States Congress, the Long Beach area will receive a total of $140 million in funds for the I-710 / Gerald Desmond Bridge and other high-priority projects such as emission reduction, corridor improvement, and street design and construction programs. This bill will now be sent to the President for signature.

    The City of Long Beach’s top transportation priority has been to secure federal funding for the I-710 / Gerald Desmond Bridge, working in collaboration with the Port of Long Beach to secure more than $745 million in funds under the Projects of National Significance section of the TEA-21 Reauthorization Bill for the bridge and freeway improvement. This project was included in the bill for $100 million.

    This section of the bill was designed to fund large projects that are vital to the national economy and transportation system.

    "The Gerald Desmond Bridge and I-710 together carry 18 percent of all international trade value and are critical to the continued vitality of the national economy," said Long Beach Mayor Beverly O’Neill. "It is disappointing that we were not fully funded, but we are very appreciative of our representatives’ hard work in Washington, DC."

    "We are especially thankful for Congresswoman Juanita Millender-McDonald's leadership as a conferee and her laser focus on the importance of funding goods movement infrastructure projects," said Doris Topsy-Elvord, President of the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners. "Along with our Mayor and City Council, we have worked very hard over the last 4 years to secure adequate funding for this program. Though we have fallen short of the $350 million that we need to begin moving quickly on the completion of the Gerald Desmond Bridge reconstruction, we will use the funds that we receive to move the project forward. We will now have to find creative means to fund the remaining balance of this important project, which when completed will improve efficiency, reduce truck congestion between the ports and improve air quality by eliminating truck idling."

    Multiple smaller projects have also been included that support the Long Beach I-710 Locally Preferred Strategy through a systems approach. The bill includes $10 million for the design of the SR 47 Port Access Expressway, which is planned to significantly reduce truck trips and emissions by providing an alternate route to deliver cargo to the Alameda Corridor. The bill also provides approximately $5.3 million to fund Gateway Cities Council of Government programs that are designed to reduce diesel emissions and improve freight movement through the use of technology.

    "These types of programs are essential components of the systems approach to improving the transportation network in Long Beach," said Long Beach Mayor Beverly O’Neill. "They help provide alternate methods for cargo to leave the Ports and help reduce the impact of the trucks that utilize the I-710. In combination with planned near-dock rail improvements and operational changes such as PierPass, the additional support offered by the TEA-21 Reauthorization bill is making the systems approach a reality."

    Long Beach will also benefit from a number of requests included in the "High Priority Projects" section of the bill. The City directly requested funding for the the following projects:

    • Reconstruct I-710 southern terminus off ramps - $2.4 million

    • Develop and implement traffic calming measures for traffic exiting the I-710 into Long Beach - $1.6 million

    • Integrate functioning traffic management center that includes the port, transit, airport, as well as the city's police and fire departments - $2.4 million

    • Reconstruct Paramount Blvd. with medians and improve drainage from Artesia Blvd. to Candlewood St. - $480,000

    • Provide landscape enhancement of an existing open culvert on Atherton Street - $1.2 million

    • To improve California Avenue between Willow and Spring Streets (for the Sports Park) - $1 million

    • Park and Ride facility (downtown parking structure) - $836,000

    Long Beach-related requests from other agencies in the bill include:

    • Study of Thomas Bridge to meet future cargo and passenger traffic needs of the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles - $1.6 million

    • Alameda Corridor SR 47 Port Access Expressway design funding - $8 million

    • Implement intelligent management & logistics measures to improve freight movement, Gateway Cities - $2.4 million

    • Los Angeles Regional Diesel Emissions Reduction Program for Engine Retrofit, Gateway Cities - $400,000

    • Widen & realign Cherry Avenue from 19th Street to one block south of PCH, Signal Hill - $3.2 million

    • Expand Diesel Emission Reduction Program of Gateway Cities COG - $2.48 million

    • Alameda Corridor SR 47 Port Access Expressway Design - $2 million

    • Reconstruct I-710 Interchanges at I-405, at SR91, and at I-105 - $5.5 million

    • Museum of Latin American Art, Long Beach, to build intermodal park and ride facility - $1.67 million

    • Purchase one larger and two small ferryboats and construct related dock work to facilitate the use and accessibility of the ferryboats - $2.5 million

    Related coverage:

  • Fed'l Trans. Bill Includes Desmond Bridge, Alameda Corridor East As Projects of "Nat'l & Regional Significance" With Funding At Levels Lower Than Sought; House Passes It This Morning, Senate Passage Expected

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