Port of LA Receives $20M DOT Grant to Clear Trucking Bottleneck

federal grant to port of Los Angeles
Grant will address a key bottleneck for the movement of trucks in the San Pedro port complex (Los Angeles file photo)

Published Sep 8, 2022 2:06 PM by The Maritime Executive

The U.S. Federal Government announced a $20 million grant to the Port of Los Angeles in its ongoing effort to enhance infrastructure to strengthen the supply chain. The project seeks to free a key bottleneck for trucks in the San Pedro port complex and improve access to the interstate highway system.

“We’re proud to be here marking such important progress being made, but also recognizing that there is so much more to do to fix the supply chains that were torn up by the pandemic and to make them more resilient for years to come – and right here we have a great example of that,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “We are delighted to formally celebrate the award of $20 million to the Port of Los Angeles to reduce trucking delays and allow freight trains to move goods more rapidly, reducing shipping costs as part of the fight against inflation.”

The project will entail the construction of a four-lane, rail-roadway grade separation, which will allow truck access to an 80-acre marine support facility on Terminal Island. Last year in an effort to make more space in the port complex to handle the surge in volumes which resulted in a need for more trucks, the marine support facility was repurposed to store chassis and empty containers. 

While it was set up as a central location serving all the terminals in both the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and addressed space concerns, the area lacks a bridge for the trucks to cross the rail line that loops around the facility. A bottleneck was created at the ports, with only one way in and out of the area, plus Buttigieg cited that the trucks can only proceed at less than 5 mph because of a low clearance in the tunnel used to access the facility.

“This is a milestone moment in the investment in our nation’s ports and I applaud Secretary Buttigieg for bringing this critical funding to where it’s needed most,” said Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka. “As the Western Hemisphere’s busiest trade gateway, this grant will help us further accelerate our plans to build resiliency, increase efficiencies and sustainability, as well as create jobs.”

When completed, the new rail-roadway will connect trucks directly to the highway system in two directions, resulting in a reduction of 2,500 truck-hour delays daily; a decrease of more than 3,000 metric tons of emissions per year; and a reduction of 1,200 truck miles traveled per day. Seroka said he expects construction to being in the next 15 to 18 months.

The $20 million award comes from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) discretionary grant program. Congress increased funding to the program in 2021 focusing on planning and capital investments that support roads, bridges, transit, rail, ports and intermodal transportation. Buttigieg said the administration received $13 billion in applications for the $2.2 billion in funding.