Mobility 21 Announces Summit Award Winners
For the past 12 years, Mobility 21 has recognized leaders in the transportation industry for their tremendous contributions to the mobility of Southern California. Mobility 21 is proud to announce the 2013 award winners whom will be recognized at a luncheon ceremony during the Summit on Tuesday, Oct. 29 at the JW Marriott at L.A. Live.
Transportation Visionary Award
Hon. Edmund G. Brown (invited)
Governor, State of California
Lifetime Achievement Award
Hon. Ray LaHood (invited)
Former Secretary of Transportation, U.S. Department of Transportation
Public Sector Leader of the Year Award
Hon. Karen Spiegel
Chair, Riverside County Transportation Commission and Vice Mayor, City of Corona
Private Sector Leader of the Year Award
Former Southern California Area Manager, HDR and Former Advisory Board Member, Mobility 21
Mobility 21 Tribute Award
Former Executive Director, California Transportation Commission
“Through the leadership of this year’s award winners, Southern California and the nation are world-renowned for some of the most innovative and visionary transportation projects and programs,” said Anne Mayer, Mobility 21 Chair and Riverside County Transportation Commission Executive Director. “Mobility 21 is pleased to award these distinguished recipients.”
Join us in honoring the award winners at this year’s Summit. Save $125 dollars by registering by Friday, Sept. 13.
Catching Up With Two ‘Ladies of Logistics’
This month we turn our attention to two of freight movement’s leaders, Kristin Decas and Fran Inman, for their insight and perspective on freight movement in Southern California. Decas is the Executive Director of the Port of Hueneme and Inman serves as a California Transportation Commissioner as well as a Senior Vice President for Majestic Realty Co. Often called ‘ladies of logistics,’ both women serve on the National Freight Advisory Committee and Mobility 21’s Advisory Board.
M21: What are the future growth plans for the Port of Hueneme and how will they complement the larger San Pedro Bay Complex in Los Angeles and Long Beach?
Kristin Decas (KD): As a vital U.S. Port of Entry, the Port of Hueneme currently moves $7 billion in cargo, generates $1 billion in economic activity, supports over 9,400 trade related jobs and generates over $63.5 million in tax revenue. The Port recently completed the first phase of a strategic business development action plan. Phase I included an unconstrained market analysis identifying growth opportunities. Targeted cargoes included containerized, roll-on/roll-off, break-bulk, bulk and aggregate freight. The analysis showed the job creation and economic benefit associated with each specific cargo growth goal. Phase II is currently going out to bid and will include a feasibility and capital outlay analysis to assess the viability for growth in these markets, determine the capital improvements requisite to growth and develop an investment strategy to support the required infrastructure improvements. The Port of Hueneme is a member of the California Association of Port Authorities and works closely with all California ports to maximize the global competitiveness of our state’s port system.
M21: You have a unique perspective coming from the private sector as well as the California Transportation Commission. How does your experience inform your decisions and recommendations to the National Freight Advisory Committee?
Fran Inman (FI): I do believe that I have a rather unique perspective – working simultaneously with a privately held developer and also serving as a state transportation commissioner. Basically, I am from the private sector, working for a real estate company that takes a long-term perspective for development. Founded in 1948, Majestic Realty Co. has built a portfolio of approximately 70 million square feet consisting of all types of commercial real estate across the nation. I believe that using a long-term perspective filter is also a good characteristic when making recommendations to the National Freight Advisory Committee. Also, Majestic is a very entrepreneurial company so I have been in a very competitive, solution-oriented business environment for several decades and I think the skills I have acquired over the years will be useful. With our tenant base, we have over 60 companies that each lease more than 200,000 square feet and many of them are leaders in the logistics/distribution business so I hear first-hand, day after day about real life experiences with the movement of goods. We view our tenants as our partners and information about what works and what doesn’t is so important. I have built my career as a collaborator and I think that is another important factor for all of us to keep in mind. We really must appreciate all the various stakeholders that are involved at many different levels and with different measurements for success. Finding the right balance will be key. And finally, my training is in finance (both undergraduate and graduate degrees) and that is another great filter that is always in place. Sooner or later, there is always a financial side to our discussions.
M21: What do you think are the major priorities for the national freight system? Which are most feasible over the short-, mid-, and long-term horizons?
KD: Applications for grants across all transportation modes totaling $9 billion for TIGER grants with only $568 million available for submitted projects is very telling. This demonstrates the significant demand for transportation infrastructure improvements across the U.S. with very limited funding. To compete in the 21st century global economy our nation needs to invest in our multi-modal transportation network. Clear priorities include identifying the investment strategy for transportation infrastructure and building an efficient and competitive intermodal freight system. Specific to maritime, major priorities include investment in port infrastructure and last mile intermodal connectors (rail/road). Port security, environmental initiatives, and innovation and technology are very important to advancing the maritime industry. Feasibility will be a result of sound public policy and the promulgation of effective legislation.
FI: Recognizing the importance of a successful national freight policy is a first priority from my perspective and while we have lots of work to do, we have come a long way in terms of beginning to focus on so many different levels on the importance of a safe, reliable, efficient system of systems to move freight. The fact that we actually have a National Freight Advisory Committee for the first time is a great step. We will have to look at short term, mid and long term horizons all at the same time and also recognize that we do not have the luxury of taking a time out to get it right…..we live in a global world and freight moves constantly. We have huge unmet needs so establishing priorities and alignment will be very important as we move forward. I do believe there is a growing sense of urgency from all sides to roll up our sleeves and get to work. Once again, there are so many different stakeholders – not to mention the political will and public policies that also need to align. I remain hopeful and am honored to participate in finding solutions.
M21: What is the most influential role in goods movement that the federal government can play, in a transportation world that is devolving responsibility to state, regional and local governments?
KD: We are in the midst of a legacy moment; for the first time in our nation’s history, the federal government is calling for the development of a national freight plan. Although MAP-21 focuses on a freight system based on highway miles, the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) has made it very clear they intend to develop a multi-modal national freight plan. Members of the National Freight Advisory Committee are presented with the opportunity to help shape national freight policy, the role of the federal government in transportation, and the promulgation of legislation to support the transportation network. States are being called to develop freight plans and MPOs will be integral to framing those plans. State, regional and local governments will all influence the nation’s freight plan. Speaking from a port perspective, ports traditionally have not had equal weight in public policy for transportation. DOT should have maritime coordinators to support state and MPO planning efforts. Dedicated maritime expertise and personnel should be embedded in state DOTs and MPOs. The voice of industry groups and associations is very important to building a national freight plan and should help steer state, regional and local government transportation planning decisions.
FI: Part of what we all need to do together is to define the roles and responsibilities. It seems clear to me that there is and should be a role for the federal government to play as we work to ensure that a system of systems is safe, reliable, and efficient. Authority, responsibility, funding are all questions that remain.
M21: Give us the good, the bad, and the ugly truth about transportation funding options in a national freight policy.
KD: The most noteworthy, is over the last 200 years as a nation we have not had a national freight plan and no funding strategy to support the implementation of such a plan. I am optimistic we are in a new era with MAP-21’s mandate to build a national freight plan. A solid funding strategy will be integral to its success. Some financing strategies that could be effective include, tax credits to encourage private investment, the development of a freight trust fund for all modes, government bond financing, and national and state freight infrastructure banks. From a port perspective, full use of the Harbor Maintenance Tax (HMT) to support maintenance dredging is critical to port competitiveness. Currently HMT funds are used for deficit reduction.
FI: Relatively short term , MAP-21 was meant to be a bridge, a transition point as we move to redefining roles, responsibilities and funding. MAP-21 gave us the platform to actively begin those conversations. Useful tools such as the TIGER grants have emerged and also the trade corridor work we have done in our state in relation to the Prop 1B funds have also been good building blocks for our discussions. I don’t have a preconceived notion about what the answer will be going forward, but I am encouraged that we are beginning to focus and have robust discussions about what our national freight future might look like and how we can move forward.
M21: What have been successful federal programs for our region, and where do you see opportunities for our state planning efforts as the national strategic plan is also being developed?
KD: The U.S. DOT, Federal Highway Administration, Transportation and Innovation Act (TIFIA) program and the new revisions under MAP-21 come to mind as an effective federal program. This applies to intermodal projects, including those that facilitate access into and out of a port. MAP-21 expands TIFIA with Congress authorizing a $1.75 billion lending capacity that could generate over $20 billion in infrastructure investment to support the transportation network, intermodal freight facilities and intelligent transportation system technologies. To address part two of this question, local, regional and state planning efforts have a very new and real opportunity to drive the development of the nation’s freight plan and the implementation of an investment strategy. Getting citizens and businesses vested in understanding the importance of freight mobility and understanding how this offers opportunities for growth and improved quality of life can help bring the much needed funding to the table, by means of private investment, tax dollars and advocacy.
FI: In terms of federal programs for our region, at the top of mind is the TIGER grants which have recently been a beneficial program for freight projects. I think that MAP-21, by including a freight title for the first time and the push for a national freight strategy and plan, is a big boost to our region. For years, we have talked about hosting the nation’s ports and their importance to our nation’s economy. The recognition of the role of freight in MAP-21 has really elevated the discussions. The work we have done in regards to trade corridors certainly is a great foundation for moving forward with a national freight plan. Also on the federal side, the NEPA/CEQA delegation was a non-monetary benefit for our region to speed up our delivery. I think the FHWA program of “Every Day Counts” has also been beneficial in terms of project delivery. We have a very close working relationship with our local federal representatives and that certainly helps.
Each state is encouraged to develop a state freight plan. Many of them are well underway and some are actually completed. Many states are forming multi state freight solutions and that will also be important. The challenge for all of us is to integrate a system of systems with many different modes and partners.
Officials celebrate during a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Colton Crossing rail-to-rail grade separation project.
Colton Crossing Project Makes
The Grade for Goods Movement
On Wednesday, Aug. 28, the completion of the Colton Crossing project was celebrated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony with project partners including the U.S. Department of Transportation, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG), Riverside County Transportation Commission (RCTC), City of Colton, BNSF Railway and Union Pacific Railroad.
This crucial Southern California infrastructure project was 130 years in the making and consists of a new “flyover” structure in Colton that will alleviate congestion at one of the busiest at-grade rail-to-rail crossings in the nation. Serving approximately 100 trains daily, the flyover is a major enhancement to Colton’s previous “diamond” crossing, which required east-west trains to stop while north-south trains passed and vice versa.
As part of the project, the Union Pacific tracks were elevated over 40 feet over the existing at-grade BNSF tracks to run parallel to Interstate 10 in the City of Colton. The new crossing will allow for more reliable service for freight and passenger trains, reduce delays and improve air quality for Southern California. The project was funded by a mix of federal, state, local and private funds from BNSF Railway and Union Pacific, creating 200 direct jobs and more than 2,700 indirect and induced jobs.
I-405 Freeway in Orange County Reopens Ahead of Schedule
Following Successful ‘Bridge Bash’ Demolition
From OCTA’s On the Move newsletter
Crews successfully reopened the southbound San Diego Freeway (I-405) in Orange County to traffic hours ahead of schedule at 2:20 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 18 after a nearly 18-hour overnight full freeway closure between the San Gabriel River Freeway (I-605) and Valley View Street in Westminster. The northbound I-405 also reopened to traffic earlier than expected at 3 p.m.
“The bridge has been bashed, I-405 is once again open for business and we greatly appreciate the patience and understanding of the traveling public,” OCTA Chairman Greg Winterbottom said. “A demolition like this is no easy task, and I want to thank the teams from Atkinson Construction, Cleveland Wrecking Company, Caltrans and OCTA for completing the job safely and on time.”
The construction team had shut down the freeway in order to safely and efficiently demolish a 50-year-old bridge that had linked the southbound I-405 to eastbound Garden Grove Freeway (SR-22).
Watch a time-lapse video of the bridge demolition.
This portion of the freeway between Seal Beach Boulevard and the SR-22 experiences the nation’s highest traffic volumes with 379,000 vehicles on the freeway on a typical busy day, according to a report released Aug. 19 by the Federal Highway Administration.
Crews closed the area of the I-405 between Seal Beach Boulevard and the Garden Grove Freeway (SR-22) that experiences the nation’s highest traffic volumes with 379,000 vehicles on the freeway on a typical busy day, according to a report released Aug. 19 by the Federal Highway Administration
During the estimated $700,000 demolition, approximately 70 workers utilized more than 50 pieces of equipment, including 10 excavators, to chip away at the bridge, while 120 steel plates protected the freeway surface below.
Crews will recycle the concrete from the old bridge and use the material on other parts of the project.
Caltrans also took advantage of the closure to perform maintenance activities that would normally require separate closures over a seven-day period.
Crews performed crack sealing, weed abatement and median drainage cleaning during the closure. This work helped save taxpayer dollars and prevented future additional inconvenience for drivers.
Throughout the demolition process, unprecedented numbers of news outlets covered the “Bridge Bash.”
With near-constant coverage on multiple live television and radio stations, the news media helped OCTA raise public awareness about the freeway closure and provide detour information to mitigate traffic congestion on one of the busiest freeways in the nation.
Live updates using the #BridgeBash hashtag on social media sites also helped advise hundreds of thousands of motorists to avoid the area or plan their detours ahead of time, and OCTA captured the entire demolition process on the time-lapse video above.
Click here for more information about the West County Connectors project.
SANBAG Introduces New Tools
To Contracting Community
The San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG) has taken an aggressive role toward improving the contracting experience with the agency. On Aug. 19, they unveiled their new online vendor management system. Now they are preparing to serve as host to their first vendor fair that will highlight contracting opportunities, introduce prime contractors with subcontractors and give valuable insight to SANBAG contracting policies and procedures.
Using a web-based system to capture information on all interested vendors, SANBAG has initiated a system that will continue to grow in its offering to the contracting community. From registration to ultimately online bidding, the new management system will expand contracting opportunities with both large and small firms, as well as ensure quality bid management for the agency.
Learning to do business with governmental agencies can be daunting, but SANBAG wants to make it easier. On Oct. 8, the agency will conduct a seminar on doing business with SANBAG. Registration for this three-hour event is free, but space is limited. Panel discussions on the procurement process, networking opportunities between primes and subs and on-site vendor registration are all part of this first-of-its-kind meeting.
Click here for more information.
RailPros is a proud supporter of Mobility 21 and this year’s annual summit. The main reason for sponsorship was to help propel the needs of transportation in Southern California in a nonpartisan way.
“As a business owner, being involved in an organization that promotes education of our industry’s goals is paramount to growth of the business,” said RailPros co-founder Eric Hankinson.
RailPros incorporated over 13 years ago to provide engineering, construction management, program/project management and specialized services to railroad-related projects. Through RailPros’ unwavering commitment to aiding their clients in their project/program needs and challenges, RailPros began providing street and facility design services, construction and project management of roads and maintenance shops, and traffic engineering. Having such diverse experience and capabilities, RailPros is able to offer a full spectrum of services to transportation related projects.
Port of Hueneme officials joined rail partners for a community event this month. From left to right: Port of Hueneme Commission Secretary Jess Herrera, Clint Ashmead (G&W), Port of Hueneme Executive Director Kristin Decas, Kiley Freeman (UP), Commission Vice President Mary Anne Rooney, Commission President Jason Hodge, Commissioner Arlene Fraser.
Port of Hueneme, UP and Genesee & Wyoming
Celebrate Award and Announce Partnership
At a community event earlier this month, the Port of Hueneme and community officials joined rail partners Union Pacific (UP) and Genesee & Wyoming (G&W) to celebrate exciting new milestones.
The Port of Hueneme was honored recently by the Railway Industrial Clearance Association (RICA) as 2012’s Most Improved Port. Founded in 1969, the Railway Industrial Clearance Association is dedicated to serving the heavy and dimensional transportation industry, cargos with large dimensions, excess weight or center of gravity or other unusual issues. The RICA honor was the result of a membership vote at their annual conference in Charleston South Carolina last month.
The Port also welcomed G&W to the Port of Hueneme as a strong and very competitive rail partner. The Port owns the Ventura County Railway (VCRY), 13 miles of track now to be operated locally by Genesee & Wyoming, one of the nation’s largest short line operators, who recently acquired the short haul operation from Rail America. G&W owns and operates short line and regional freight railroads in the United States, Canada, Australia, the Netherlands and Belgium. They provide rail service at 36 ports in North America, Australia and Europe and perform contract coal loading and railcar switching for industrial customers. Operations currently include 111 railroads organized in 11 regions, with more than 15,000 miles of owned and leased track and approximately 2,500 additional miles under track access arrangements.
“Auto import tonnage has increased the last two years by 20% and 12% respectively and we see enhanced rail opportunities with this growth,” said Port of Hueneme Executive Director and Mobility 21 Advisory Board member Kristin Decas. “We remain very engaged in creating intermodal solutions utilizing rail by enhancing the partnership between Genesee & Wyoming and Union Pacific Railroad.”
The Port of Hueneme is one of the most productive and efficient commercial trade gateways for niche cargo on the West Coast. The Port is governed by five locally elected Port Commissioners. The Port moves $7 billion in goods each year and consistently ranks among the top ten U.S. ports for automobiles and fresh produce. Port operations support the community by bringing $1 billion in economic activity and creating 9,448 trade-related jobs. Trade through the Port of Hueneme generates more than $63 million in annual state and local taxes which funds vital community services.
Metro Teaching Students How to Go Back to School
This fall Metro is adding to existing options for transporting children to school by launching a pilot program called Safe Routes to School (SRTS). The new program is designed to help teach students to walk and bike safely to school, at the same time they become more physically active and learn the importance of ride-sharing, walking and transit as methods for keeping our air clean.
More than 50 percent of children in Los Angeles County are driven to school in private vehicles, despite the fact that the majority live within two miles of school.
Ten schools in Los Angeles County have been selected to participate in the SRTS Pilot Program, in which walk leaders are trained and there are opportunities for children to learn about pedestrian, bicycle and public transit safety. Metro also will help the schools implement Walk/Bike to School Days, hold community and school events and work with schools to develop pedestrian and bicycle travel plans.
The end goal of SRTS is to create an environment in which children can be active while getting to school safely. In addition, by encouraging kids to walk or bike to school, there will be reduced congestion near schools, which will benefit traffic and air quality in local neighborhoods.
The pilot program is part of a larger effort by Metro, in partnership with the Southern California Association of Governments, to develop a Countywide Safe Routes to School Strategic Plan, which will identify strategies to help cities and local communities establish new SRTS programs. For more information, visit metro.net/srts.
And for those who must rely on driving, the Metro School Pool car-pooling program alleviates school traffic by providing a free, voluntary and confidential service that helps parents find carpooling partners at participating elementary, middle and high school campuses throughout Los Angeles County. It’s easy to sign up. Just fill out a Metro School Pool Enrollment Form. For schools not currently in the program but interested in joining, there’s the Metro School Pool Interest Form to help them get started. Both forms are available at metro.net/about/commute-services.
For those taking transit, K – 12 students can buy Student TAP Cards to ride Metro to school at reduced rates. Frequent riders benefit from the Student 30-day Pass. Visit metro.net/riding/fares/ to find out how to get one. There is no charge to get a Student TAP Card.
Transportation Events in the Community
Wednesday, Sept. 18
CMAA So Cal: Inland Empire Owners’ Night
Monday, Sept. 23
Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce: 28th Annual Golf Classic at
Jurupa Hills Country Club
Wednesday, Oct. 2
Harbor Trucking Association: How to comply with CARB Diesel Regulations
Tuesday, Dec. 3
WTS-OC: Annual Awards & Scholarships Gala