Mobility 21 Summit to Return to Disneyland Hotel
Friday, Sept. 5
Save the date for Mobility 21’s 13th Annual Southern California Transportation Summit, presented by CH2M HILL. More than 1,000 transportation leaders and elected officials are expected to attend California’s largest one-day transportation event on Friday, Sept. 5 at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim. Sponsorship opportunities will open to the public March 1.
The Big Three for Secretary Anthony Foxx:
Greater Efficiency, Long-term Planning
And Sustainable Transportation Funding
As United States Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) Secretary, Anthony Foxx oversees the formulation of national transportation policy and promotes intermodal transportation. This month, Secretary Foxx provides Mobility 21 with an update on his first few months at the helm of U.S. DOT, the future of transportation funding and reauthorization.
M21: What were your priorities during your first six months as Secretary?
AF: As Secretary of Transportation, my top priority is ensuring that our transportation system is the safest in the world. We must also work to make sure our transportation system meets the needs of our economy by creating good jobs today and promoting a strong, competitive economy tomorrow – and that includes making sure all Americans have access to a good education and good jobs. Transportation is more than a road or a bridge – it can be a ladder of opportunity, connecting people and communities to the 21st century. I’m also focused on improving the efficiency and performance of our existing transportation system – supporting ideas that help us make the most of every taxpayer dollar, completing projects faster and under budget.
M21: What role will U.S. DOT play in the reauthorization of MAP-21 under your leadership?
AF: We’ve made a lot of progress with MAP-21. It provided states and communities two years of steady funding to invest in critical road, bridge and transit projects. But MAP-21 is already approaching its final year, and there is no doubt that we need a long-term, sustainable transportation bill. The good news is that transportation is still a bipartisan issue. I’ve been talking with both Republicans and Democrats about the importance of investing in our infrastructure – and they agree. The question is how we fund it. We need Congress to pass a bill that provides the funding the President requested in his budget so we can continue addressing our short- and long-term infrastructure needs. President Obama and all of us at the Department of Transportation stand ready to work with Congress to get this done.
M21: How do you intend to address the potentially devastating consequences of stalled projects and construction jobs as a result of the implementation of Buy America provisions to utility relocations?
AF: The vast majority of Buy America projects are moving forward, using American materials built by American workers, without a waiver.
After careful consideration of the impact on project delivery, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) decided, for non-federally funded utility relocation work, to provide utility companies until the end of the year to take the necessary steps to ensure compliance with Buy America provisions under MAP-21. FHWA remains fully committed to Buy America and FHWA has received assurances that utilities are committed to Buy America compliance by the end of this year.
M21: What do you see as Southern California’s role in the national freight transportation system and how can our region help support your goals as Secretary?
AF: In the next few decades, America’s freight network will need to move more than four billion additional tons of freight annually, and freight volumes from the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles are expected to grow considerably. Safely growing Southern California’s freight capacity is important, not just to the region’s economy, but to the nation’s economy.
Private capital investments and DOT’s own investments in the Alameda Corridor are increasing safety and fuel efficiency while reducing highway congestion and exhaust emissions. Freight railroads also are investing in facilities in the San Bernardino area and adding more capacity to their north-south routes.
At DOT, we’ve formed a National Freight Advisory Committee to take a multi-modal approach to strengthening the nation’s freight system. Across all five rounds of Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants, DOT has dedicated over $420 million to ports projects – large and small, inland and coastal. In TIGER 2010, $16 million went to the Port of Los Angeles to construct an intermodal railyard, which includes staging and storage tracks connecting on-dock railyards with the Alameda Corridor. This project reduced disruptions to commercial activity, improves safety by reducing the number of truck trips needed and creates nearly 2,000 jobs. The Port of Long Beach received a $17 million grant in TIGER 2011 that went to improving the lead tracks to two rail yards and relieve a chokepoint at the Ocean Boulevard overcrossing, where a large portion of the cargo transits enters or exits the port property.
M21: In a time of tight federal budgets, governments are looking for more cost-effective ways to build infrastructure. How do you plan to take leadership to cut red tape to reduce the amount of time and money it takes to deliver important transportation projects?
AF: As Mayor, I experienced first-hand the successes but also the challenges and frustrations that go along with obtaining and coordinating federal funding for local transportation priorities. As Secretary, I am committed to cutting red tape, eliminating waste, and streamlining our policies and procedures every step of the way.
In addition to getting projects off the ground more quickly, we’re also helping communities build and deliver projects more efficiently. Every Day Counts is an initiative designed to identify and deploy innovation aimed at reducing the time it takes to deliver highway projects. It has been so successful that Congress incorporated elements of it throughout MAP-21 – making accelerated project delivery the law of the land. DOT is committed to helping our state, local, and industry partners find and use the technologies and construction strategies that will work best for them – and for the projects in their communities. DOT has already made an excellent start under MAP-21, by streamlining the environmental review process without sacrificing necessary oversight, and other key improvements. But I know we can do more, and we will.
There is also the possibility of creating savings for external stakeholders – NextGen is a good example of that. NextGen gives us an opportunity to save our carriers millions of dollars in fuel by developing more precise air routes, while also helping consumers with more on-time flights. New technology and innovative thinking will help us deliver projects faster and more affordably, making the most of our taxpayer dollars.
M21: Will you be supportive of America Fast Forward and other innovative financing options?
AF: There’s no question that in today’s budget environment, we need to pursue a variety of innovative financing tools to help us meet our transportation needs at the federal, state and local levels. At DOT, for example, we are expanding the successful TIFIA loan guarantee program. MAP-21 transformed TIFIA into one of the largest transportation infrastructure loan programs in history, making up to $17 billion available in credit assistance for critical infrastructure projects. Since its launch, the TIFIA program has helped 37 projects turn over $12.7 billion in U.S. Department of Transportation assistance into more than $49 billion in infrastructure investment across America in cities like Los Angeles, Chicago and Dallas.
M21: Do you plan to help lead the charge on increasing our national investment in infrastructure?
AF: America is hungry for transportation investments. As the former Mayor of Charlotte, I’ve seen firsthand how infrastructure projects can be a catalyst for good jobs and economic development. Across the country, we’re seeing, even in this situation in which budgets are stretched, some real creative strategies that are happening at the local and state level.
The Obama Administration has made unprecedented investments in our national infrastructure – improving safety and putting people to work on our roads, bridges, runways and railways. We know the American people want transportation choices. President Obama knows – and I know – the work we do today will help shape our national transportation systems for the 21st century and beyond. We must build this country’s infrastructure to meet the needs of the next generation of Americans. The federal government has a responsibility to help ensure our global competitiveness, by investing in a robust, multimodal transportation system, a stronger national freight network, and key innovations like NextGen and advanced roadway and rail technology.
I have been meeting with members of Congress, safety advocates and the business community to emphasize how we can all benefit from investing in safer, more efficient transportation. Throughout my confirmation process and my first months as Secretary of Transportation, I have been encouraged to hear both Republicans and Democrats speak about the need for transportation investment. The fact that transportation infrastructure still attracts bipartisan support is a key opportunity.
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx and Senator Barbara Boxer speak during a groundbreaking ceremony for the Crenshaw/LAX Transit Project in Los Angeles.
Top US, State, Local and Metro Officials
Break Ground on Crenshaw/LAX Transit Project
Construction began last week on the Crenshaw/LAX Transit Project, an 8.5-mile, $2.058 billion light-rail line that will run between the Metro Expo and Green lines and is expected to open in 2019. The project will also bring Metro Rail closer to Los Angeles International Airport.
The groundbreaking bought together top officials from federal, state and local government, including U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and California Senator Barbara Boxer.
The event was held at the intersection of Crenshaw and Exposition boulevards, where the first of the project’s three underground stations will be built. Demolition of some existing structures will be among the first work done, with heavy construction expected to begin this spring.
“Thousands of hard-working families and seniors living in Crenshaw depend on public transportation every day to get to work, to school, and to obtain medical care,” said Secretary Foxx. “Bringing light rail to this community will create jobs, spur local economic development and make it easier than ever for residents to access downtown Los Angeles and beyond.”
The new Crenshaw/LAX Transit Project will be the first rail line to serve Crenshaw Boulevard and the city of Inglewood since the streetcars of the Los Angeles Rail Line (known as the “Yellow Cars”) stopped running in 1955. In some places, the new light rail line will use the old alignment for the streetcars.
“The Crenshaw Line is a top priority for me because it will provide a crucial transportation link, create over 18,000 jobs, help connect communities, reduce air pollution, and provide economic development and economic opportunities,” said Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
The new light-rail line will serve the Crenshaw Corridor, Inglewood, Westchester and the area around Los Angeles International Airport with eight stations, a maintenance facility and park-and-ride lots.
Dignitaries and officials celebrate the opening of the I-215 Widening Project in San Bernardino: Fran Inman (CTC Commissioner and Mobility 21 Advisory Board Member), Joseph Tavaglione (CTC Commissioner), Garry Cohoe (SANBAG Director of Project Delivery), Greg Nadeau (Federal Highway Deputy Administrator), Patrick Morris (San Bernardino Mayor), Bill Jahn (SANBAG President), Basem Muallem (Caltrans District 8 Director), Joe Baca (former Congressman), Ray Wolfe (SANBAG Executive Director and Mobility 21 Board Member), Ray Musser (Upland Mayor).
SANBAG Celebrates Opening of 215 Widening Project
Last Friday the San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG), the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and the City of San Bernardino celebrated the opening of the Interstate 215 Widening Project. This four-phase, $647 million project through the heart of downtown San Bernardino serves as a vital part of the regional goods movement network and provides a north-south travel option for nearly 80,000 commuters daily.
The improvements to the freeway system include the addition of two lanes in each direction, one mixed-flow and one carpool. In addition, 15 bridges and 34 on- and off-ramps were modified to create better traffic flow and improved access to both the east and west sides of the Inland Empire hub city. The project was funded through a combination of $128 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds, $117 million in State Proposition IB funds and local Measure I funds—the voter-approved half-cent sales tax for transportation improvements in San Bernardino County.
Dignitaries from local, state and federal levels joined local business owners and city residents to commemorate the completion of this seven-year undertaking. Hosted by Mayor of San Bernardino Pat Morris, special guests included Federal Highway Administration Deputy Administrator Greg Nadeau, California Transportation Commissioners Fran Inman and Joseph Tavaglione, Caltrans District 8 Director Basem Muallem, SANBAG President Bill Jahn and San Bernardino County Supervisor (3rd District) James Ramos.
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx meets with Port of Los Angeles officials during a visit to Southern California.
US Secretary of Transportation
Visits Port of Los Angeles
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony R. Foxx visited the Port of Los Angeles last week and also toured the construction site of the Berth 200 West Basin Rail Yard construction project, which will improve a vital link in the national freight network. Click here to watch a short video for a recap of the visit.
Construction of the $137.7 million Berth 200 West Basin Rail Yard project is providing 2,000 construction jobs, sustains 318,000 new trade-related jobs for the region and will generate $1 billion in annual state revenues by 2030. The project is utilizing the most up-to-date Tier IV construction equipment, which will reduce criteria pollutants and green-house gases by a substantial amount of 593,955 tons of emission reductions over 20 years, 2013-2033. The project received a $16 million TIGER II federal grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Once completed, the project will move cargo more safely and efficiently by increasing the capacity to load and unload trains on-dock rail and thereby maximizes the number of containers moved directly via rail; reduce truck traffic on roads and freeways leading to a reduction of 2,300 daily truck trips on local freeways (the I-710 , I-110, and SR 47/103); a reduction of 81,000 truck miles and 2,370 vehicle-hours traveled; and improve regional air quality by utilizing the most up to date Tier IV construction equipment and cleanest locomotives which will reduce criteria pollutants and green-house gases by a substantial amount of 593,955 tons of emission reductions over 20-years, 2013-2033. The new Rail Yard will function as a critical link between the Port of Los Angeles and the Alameda Corridor, providing 11 ½ miles of tracks to stage and store trains using the corridor.
Officials celebrate the beginning of construction on the US Route 101/SR-23 interchange, one of the most congested freeway segments in Ventura County during peak travel periods.
Ventura County Transportation Commission
Breaks Ground on Congested Interchange
In an effort to reduce congestion along the US Highway 101 and State Route 23 interchange, the City of Thousand Oaks, the Ventura County Transportation Commission (VCTC) and Caltrans broke ground Jan. 15 on a widening project aimed at improving conditions for local commuters.
The project is slated for completion in approximately two years and will add another lane going both directions on US 101 from the county line to Moorpark Avenue. Additional improvements and amenities such as a soundwalls, restriping and median reconstruction will also be conducted.
Champion bullwhip artist Leslie Leone “whips traffic congestion” by splitting a banner held by officials with her whip at a groundbreaking ceremony for the I-5 in south Orange County.
Freeway Project Gets Cracking in South O.C.
The sharp crack of a whip Wednesday signaled the start of freeway construction that will add carpool lanes between San Juan Creek Road and Avenida Pico.
More than 100 transportation, community and business leaders gathered to celebrate the start of construction for the $249 million I-5 South Improvement Project. In addition to adding the carpool lane in both directions between San Juan Capistrano and San Clemente, the project will rebuild the Avenida Pico interchange in San Clemente.
“I am pleased to see this much-anticipated project get under way and am looking forward to it bringing much-needed congestion relief to all who travel on the I-5 through south Orange County,” said Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) Director Pat Bates, also the Fifth District Supervisor. “This is the first of several Measure M projects planned in coming years that will allow our residents to spend less time in their cars and more time doing all that they enjoy.”
The stretch of the I-5 in Orange County’s most southern reaches is notorious for weekend traffic jams, as well as regular rush-hour bottlenecks. The project now under construction will alleviate the back-ups by ensuring a continuous number of lanes – four general purpose and one carpool – in each direction, eliminating the need for vehicles to merge.
“The extension of the I-5 HOV lane farther into South Orange County will offer additional transportation alternatives for transit and ridesharing and will maximize people movement in this corridor,” said Caltrans District 12 Director Ryan Chamberlain.
At Avenida Pico, the freeway will be widened from four lanes in each direction to five, and Avenida Pico beneath the freeway will be widened from five lanes to nine. The northbound on-ramp also will be widened from two lanes to three. The project also will create bicycle lanes along Pico – a key safety addition with San Clemente High School and other campuses in the area.
The project, a partnership between the Orange County Transportation Authority and Caltrans, is being funded by Measure M, a half-cent sales tax that was approved by Orange County voters in 2006, as well as state and local funds.
For more information, see www.octa.net/I-5Pico.
SANBAG Visioning Awards Seeking Nominations
The San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG) would like to bring recognition to leaders in their county by honoring local accomplishments and achievements through the presentation of Visioning Awards. One award will be presented to an individual in the unincorporated areas of each of the five county districts and 24 jurisdictional cities within the County of San Bernardino. These 29 award winners will then be considered for the top honor in each of SANBAG’s five supervisorial districts and will receive special recognition during the 2014 SANBAG General Assembly on June 12, 2014.
The Visioning Award will be given to individuals who positively impacted a community in 2013 by:
- Displaying leadership, integrity and a strong commitment
- Enhancing civic, environmental and social stewardship
- Working collaboratively
- Promoting ethical conduct and reliability
The goal is to bring attention to visionaries in their community that rise above boundaries and affect positive change at a local and regional level. Nominations from all sectors of the community are encouraged. For more information about the awards and nomination process, click the link or visit SANBAG on the web at www.sanbag.ca.gov.
Don’t Miss These Upcoming Events!
New Partners for Smart Growth Conference
The 2014 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference is going mile-high – to Denver. The gateway to the Rocky Mountains, Denver is one of the nation’s most walkable and bike-friendly cities.
Founded as a boomtown on the western mining frontier, Denver has long fostered a strong sense of place, with urban parks, eclectic architecture and distinctive neighborhoods. Its dedication to sustainability is nurtured by an immutable geography that bequeaths clear blue skies, snowcapped mountains, majestic forests, cascading streams and panoramic open spaces. Denver exemplifies the smart-growth variety and vitality of a healthy, thriving city that balances development pressures and a rich quality of life for all its residents.
The 13th annual New Partners conference will explore practical strategies for identifying and overcoming barriers to more sustainable development in the Rockies and the rest of the nation.
Learn more about the latest in smart growth, including the latest research, cutting-edge implementation tools and techniques, best practices, model projects, policies and codes, and new partners. Most importantly, this dynamic event offers you the opportunity to network and coordinate with your peers as well as practitioners from many different disciplines.
California Maritime Leadership Symposium
The 14th Annual California Maritime Leadership Symposium (CMLS), scheduled for Feb. 19-20, 2014 at the Sacramento Convention Center, has become one of the premier events focused on briefing Sacramento’s policymakers on key matters related to the entire maritime transportation system. It is the only comprehensive forum for port executives, commissioners and other stakeholders across the state to seek resolution to the growing challenges the maritime transportation system faces.
ACCESS Washington, D.C.
Join the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce and more than 200 civic and business leaders for the region’s premier advocacy trip to the nation’s capital. With so much at stake, this is an important opportunity to meet with members of Congress and senior Obama Administration officials on priorities important to Southern California’s economy. This year’s trip includes special briefings with lawmakers, advocacy meetings on specific regional issues and unparalleled business networking with fellow participants.
World Trade Week Kickoff Breakfast
Celebrate the kickoff of World Trade Week and join nearly 500 executives and members of the diplomatic corps at the 87th Annual World Trade Week Kickoff Breakfast at the JW Marriott at L.A. Live on Friday, May 2. The program will include a presentation of the prestigious Stanley T. Olafson Award. First observed in 1927 to promote the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, the World Trade Week observance has grown to promote the positive aspects of international trade that are vital to a strong local and national economy.
Transportation Events in the Community
Thursday, May 15
ACC-OC: Infrastructure Summit
Friday, Sept. 5
Mobility 21 Summit: Disneyland Hotel, Anaheim