January 3, 2017

The Honorable Anthony Foxx, Secretary
United States Department of Transportation
1200 New Jersey Ave, SE
Washington, DC 20590

 

RE: America’s Global Freight Gateway: Southern California Highway Strategy

Fastlane Grant Application

 

Dear Secretary Foxx:

Inland Action respectfully recommends your approval of the America’s Global Freight Gateway: Southern California Highway Strategy application to the United States Department of Transportation’s Fostering Advancements in Shipping and Transportation for the Long-term Achievement of National Efficiencies (FASTLANE 2016) competitive grant program, submitted jointly by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), Southern California Association of Governments, (SCAG), Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LA Metro), Riverside County Transportation Commission (RCTC), and San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG).  Inland Action is a non-profit organization of business and community leaders dedicated to the economic and community betterment of the Southern California region.

 

America’s Global Freight Gateway: Southern California Highway Strategy is a $1.5 billion partnership seeking $160 million in FASTLANE grant funding that is based upon a comprehensive systems management approach to achieve critical bottleneck relief and traffic flow improvements to the most densely concentrated manufacturing and logistics hub in the nation. It provides a critical linkage between the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to the nation. The components of the Highway Strategy work together to alleviate both passenger and freight traffic at the crossroads of four Southern California counties and includes the request for FASTLANE grant awards for the following highway projects:

 

State Route 57 / 60 Confluence (LA Metro) – Constructs critical new bypass improvements to unlock a bottleneck on State Route 60 (SR-60) where SR-57 shares the same alignment with SR-60 in Los Angeles County near the Orange County border. This will greatly relieve congestion at the most congested bottleneck in California and the ninth most congested freight bottleneck in the nation, while significantly improving safety at the second highest truck accident location in Southern California. Eliminating this bottleneck will save 210 hours of truck delay daily at the confluence and $1 billion of driver delay time over the next 20 years.

 

State Route 71 Freeway Conversion (LA Metro) – Upgrades the existing 4-lane expressway to an 8‑lane freeway by adding 6.4 lane miles each of mixed flow and concurrent flow HOV lanes on SR-71 in Los Angeles County between Mission Boulevard and SR-60 at the Los Angeles/San Bernardino County Line. Completion of this project will significantly improve safety and greatly enhance mobility by adding the additional mixed flow lanes and by encouraging carpools in the added HOV lanes that will expand one of the nation’s largest HOV networks. It will serve to eliminate the bottleneck at SR-71/60, also resulting in congestion relief between SR-60 and Interstate 10 (I-10) and on the nearby north-south SR-57 freeway.

 

San Bernardino County I-10 Logistics Corridor (SANBAG) – Implements two tolled express lanes in each direction and strategic auxiliary lanes on I-10 from the Los Angeles County line to I-15. I-10 is a critical freight corridor in Southern California and a primary freight gateway to the nation, as is the I-15.  Both interstates link freight movement between the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to major manufacturing and warehouse concentrations in the Inland Empire and to the rest of the nation. The addition of these express lanes will significantly increase corridor capacity in each direction and will relieve traffic congestion and increase speeds on the general purpose lanes on I-10, as well as provide enhanced traffic flows on the adjacent parallel freeways SR-60 and SR-210 and I-15.

 

Riverside County I-15 Express Lanes (RCTC) – Constructs two tolled express lanes for 14.6 miles in each direction in the median of the corridor’s most congested segment in Southern California, from SR‑60 to Corona within Riverside County. The project is part of a region-wide corridor strategy, supported by local voters, constructed as a public-private partnership transferring appropriate risk to the private sector to encourage innovation and construction to provide completed improvements sooner than a solely publicly funded project.  The project will significantly address current and future travel demand by people and goods, improve congested traffic operations, expand travel choices, and ease one of the top U.S. highway freight bottlenecks.

 

The America’s Global Freight Gateway: Southern California Highway Strategy recognizes that these priority project components are uniquely interconnected and should be considered jointly for FASTLANE grant award to all. Over 40 percent of the nation’s containerized imports and nearly 30 percent of containerized exports arrive at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and traverses Southern California’s infrastructure, providing needed goods to the State and nation. Due to their close geographical proximity to one another, as well as the tremendous volume of both freight and commuter traffic that presently traverses each highway, considering these projects individually and perhaps funding only one or two of them will serve only to push the bottleneck to the other projects and have minimal efficacy in relieving overall freight congestion moving through the region to the rest of the nation.

 

This application offers a holistic approach to solving Southern California’s freight bottleneck so important to moving the nation’s goods so the freight efficiency objectives of the FASTLANE grant program can be meaningfully addressed to move the goods through Southern California to and from the rest of the nation.

 

Inland Action respectfully recommends USDOT approval of this FASTLANE grant application.

 

Sincerely,

Deborah Barmack

President