Over 1,000 Convene for Mobility 21 Summit to Address Regional Transportation Options, Reduce Traffic Congestion and Improve Mobility in Southern California
National infrastructure experts joined forces on Friday, Sept. 5 at the Mobility 21 Summit to seek strategies to develop regionally connected transportation solutions, reduce time spent in traffic and increase options for Southern California’s traveling public.
More than 1,000 transportation, business and elected leaders convened at the Disneyland Hotel for the 13th annual Mobility 21 Southern California Transportation Summit. The annual conference, which is the largest one-day transportation event in the state, focuses on bringing together leaders from a broad spectrum of backgrounds to address the challenges and opportunities facing Southern California’s transportation infrastructure.
“The strength of Mobility 21 is in the organization’s regional coordination between all seven counties in Southern California,” said Paul Granillo, President & CEO of the Inland Empire Economic Partnership and Chairman of Mobility 21. “Our collaboration with public and private sectors focuses on making the region a better place by improving all modes of transportation.”
By working together as a unified front in Sacramento, the Mobility 21 region has helped secure critical transportation milestones, including:
- Unlimited design-build authority for highway projects – an innovative contracting method that can save time and money on complex construction jobs;
- Repayment of state transportation funds that were borrowed during bad budget years; and
- Expansion of express lanes in Los Angeles, San Diego, and Riverside counties.
During his welcome remarks at the Summit, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti highlighted major transportation improvements underway, but stressed the need to continue investing in transportation.
“Traffic doesn’t care about borders, so we need to work together as a region to expand our transportation options and help people get around more easily,” said Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board Chair Eric Garcetti. “That’s why we’re undergoing one of the biggest transportation projects in the country and leveraging those investments to access new funding opportunities and continue building for the future.”
During the Summit, conference attendees learned about concepts being proposed to overcome Southern California’s transportation challenges, including: harnessing the power of new technology; alternative project delivery; mileage-based user fees; tolling and enhanced transit systems. Leaders also called on legislators to implement reforms and innovations to make much-needed improvements to Southern California’s transportation infrastructure.
“Whether it’s focusing on a fix-it-first approach to protect and preserve the assets we have, making dramatic investments in diverse modes, such as in high speed rail and pedestrian and bicycling infrastructure, or encouraging frank professional assessments of our own operations, we’re trying to split from business as usual. Business as usual will not suffice as we balance our limited transportation dollars and our prodigious needs,” said Brian Kelly, Secretary of the California State Transportation Agency. “Today’s transportation challenges require innovation, reform and strong partnerships to get the job done for Californians. We’re making changes—like Caltrans’ new mission, vision and goals—necessary to modernize our transportation system.”
Mobility 21 presented awards to several transportation leaders for their efforts to keep the region moving:
- Lifetime Achievement Award: Hon. Henry A. Waxman, Representative, U.S. House of Representatives (in absentia)
- Public Sector Leader of the Year: Hon. Dianne Feinstein, Senator, U.S Senate (in absentia)
- Public Sector Leader of the Year: Hon. Tom Daly, Assemblymember, California State Assembly
- Private Sector Leader of the Year: Hon. Richard Katz, Principal, Richard Katz Consulting, Inc.
- Outstanding Service Award: Marnie O’Brien Primmer, Director of Strategic Business Development, Transpo Group
Metro, City of Glendale and Mobility 21 to
Host California Transportation Commission
Please join Metro, the City of Glendale and Mobility 21 on Wednesday, Oct. 8 to help welcome the California Transportation Commissioners (CTC) to the City of Glendale for their October meeting. The reception will provide networking opportunities with CTC Commissioners and staff, Caltrans Headquarters and District staff, and transportation programming and delivery agencies from around the state.
Wednesday, Oct. 8, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Larry Zarian Transportation Center
400 W Cerritos Avenue, Glendale
Registration closes tomorrow!
(left to right) L.A. County Supervisor and Metro Board Member Mark Ridley-Thomas; U.S. Representative Janice Hahn; Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board Chair Eric Garcetti; U.S. Representative Maxine Waters; U.S. Department of Transportation Deputy Secretary Victor Mendez; Metro Deputy CEO Lindy Lee.
Metro Awarded More Than $20 Million in TIGER Funds
Metro has been awarded two TIGER grants totaling $22.05 million to modernize the busy Willowbrook/Rosa Parks Station on the Metro Blue and Green lines and improve first-last mile connections to the 1st/Central Regional Connector light-rail station in the Little Tokyo/Arts District.
“Thanks to our federal partners, this investment in Los Angeles will help us build critical transportation projects in South L.A. and Little Tokyo,” said Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board Chair Eric Garcetti. “These projects will help people connect to other communities across our region by offering new ways to get to where they want to go — quicker, cheaper and greener — with no traffic.”
The TIGER funds will support two separate projects in Los Angeles County. One grant invests $10.25 million toward the renovation and modernization of the Willowbrook/Rosa Parks Station, the fourth busiest station in the Metro system, serving more than 22,000 passengers daily. The station will undergo a series of improvements, including increasing station capacity and enhancing connections between rail, bus, bicycle and pedestrian facilities to create safer access to the station from the surrounding community.
“This grant for the Willowbrook/Rosa Parks Station will allow us to overhaul one of our oldest and busiest stations,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor and Metro Board Member Mark Ridley-Thomas. “This is a much needed funding tool for a major transfer point – the spot where our Blue and Green lines meet a multitude of buses. This grant will improve the lives of thousands of Angelinos and we’re grateful to the Department of Transportation for this award.”
The second grant, in Little Tokyo, provides $11.8 million in TIGER funds for the $17 million Eastside Access Improvement project, which will bring new crosswalks, bicycle lanes and streetscaping to improve access to the Regional Connector 1st/Central Station and nearby communities, while making the area safer for walking and biking. These improvements will support the planned Regional Connector light-rail system that will connect the Little Tokyo and Arts District communities to destinations all over our region.
“Downtown Los Angeles continues to grow and evolve,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor and Metro Board Member Gloria Molina. “That means more construction in our urban core, which is already densely populated. While Metro strives for greater mobility through major mass transit projects like the Regional Connector, we also must ensure that other types of transportation are improved as well. That’s exactly what we hope to do by accepting these federal dollars.”
The Metro projects are among 72 transportation projects selected to receive a total of $600 million in 46 states and the District of Columbia from the Department of Transportation’s 2014 TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) Program, which Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced on Sept. 12.
“As uncertainty about the future of long-term federal funding continues, this round of TIGER will be a shot in the arm for these innovative, job-creating and quality-of-life enhancing projects,” said Secretary Foxx. “We’re building bridges from Maine to Mississippi. We’re creating ladders of opportunity for the middle class and those seeking to enter the middle class by investing in transit, road and rail projects from Los Angeles to Detroit to New York City, increasing access to jobs and quality of life.”
The Department received 797 eligible applications from 49 states, U.S. territories and the District of Columbia, an increase from the 585 applications received in 2013. Overall, applicants requested 15 times the $600 million available for the program, or $9 billion for needed transportation projects. This year, 15 transit-related projects were selected to receive TIGER funds.
“Winning $10 million in federal funding for improvements to this station is a significant accomplishment,” said Congresswoman Janice Hahn (CA-44). “I was proud to support L.A. Metro’s application for a highly competitive TIGER grant and happy to help secure funding that will give the community a big boost.”
A storm surge caused major damage to the breakwater at the Port of Long Beach. Photo credit: Port of Long Beach
$20 Million in Repairs Needed For Damaged
Breakwater Protecting Port of Long Beach
Major damage to the Middle Breakwater, which protects the Port of Long Beach, caused by Hurricane Marie will cost $20 million to repair. The Port of Long Beach has urged the Army Corps of Engineers, the federal agency who owns the breakwater protecting the port, to fix the damaged areas to keep the dockworkers and vessels safe at the port. In total, the breakwater had 1,550 feet of major damage, 850 feet of significant damage and 1,725 feet of moderate damage. The Army Corps of Engineers is currently determining ways to pay for the needed repairs to keep port operations safe during hurricane season.
Summit Sponsor Spotlight:
Costin Outreach Group
Sara Costin of Costin Outreach Group (COG) has assisted Mobility 21 for the past two years. Her name may be familiar to you because she is responsible for managing registration, the expo and volunteers at our annual Summit.
Sara is President at Costin Outreach Group, a communications firm that engages stakeholders to participate in the public process. From project initiation to construction, COG has developed and executed outreach programs for dozens of signature transportation projects that have transformed the landscape of Southern California.
COG’s philosophy is that every stakeholder in every community should be involved in delivering a result. Their expertise is rooted in understanding the details and lexicon of your project. From reading plans and profiles to executing the outreach goals of CEQA, COG translates the technical documents so that every stakeholder is equipped to engage in a dialogue with you and your community.
COG’s team has worked for metropolitan planning organizations, rail authorities, transit districts, counties and cities throughout California. Their work has spanned from Orange County to Riverside County to Kern County, from the San Fernando Valley to the San Gabriel Valley and all of the cities in between including Anaheim, Santa Monica, Los Angeles, Santa Clarita and Bakersfield.
Communities and Officials Celebrate
Start of Base Line Road Interchange Project
On Aug. 21, community members, business owners, elected officials and project personnel gathered in Rancho Cucamonga at the foot of the San Bernardino Mountains to celebrate the start of construction of the Interstate 15 / Base Line Road Interchange Project.
This approximately $52 million project designed to alleviate congestion, enhance safety and improve mobility on both the freeway and local streets will take nearly two years to complete. However, extensive planning and design strategies have been incorporated to minimize the amount of system closures typical of this type of interchange project.
“The cooperative effort shown by all the agencies involved to proactively address the concerns of this community while developing a schedule to deliver a successful project in a timely manner is remarkable,” San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG) President and Mayor of Rancho Cucamonga L. Dennis Michael said.
SANBAG, the Cities of Rancho Cucamonga and Fontana and the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) have joined forces to develop a project that will accomplish the following:
- Widen Base Line Road from four to six lanes
- Widen East Avenue from two to four lanes
- Add right and left turn lanes on both Base Line Road and East Avenue
- Add a southbound loop on-ramp
- Realign and widen existing ramps
- Add acceleration and deceleration lanes on Interstate 15
Funding for this much-needed improvement was provided from federal, state and local resources, including Measure I, the half-cent sales tax measure that collects and reinvests dollars directly back into San Bernardino County.
Anyone interested in following the progress of the project can follow SANBAG on Twitter at @SANBAGnews using the hashtag #BetterBaseLine; or sign up for email alerts by visiting the project page at www.sanbag.ca.gov/projects – going to the I-15 Base Line Interchange page and register using the online request form.
Summit Platinum Sponsor Spotlight:
Cordoba Corporation is a nationally recognized program management, civil engineering, transportation planning and construction management firm specializing in water, energy, transportation and educational facilities.
Headquartered in Los Angeles, with offices also in the cities of Santa Ana, San Francisco and San Diego, Cordoba has a 31-year history of doing the impossible as a mid-size firm with over 100 employees responsible for over $1 billion in construction projects throughout the state.
Our efforts throughout the years have been recognized by a Harvard Business School Case Study analyzing our unique approach to solving challenging problems for clients, and more recently, recognized as a top 100 professional service and top 50 program management firm in the nation by Engineering News-Record, a New York City based magazine that covers the latest trends in the construction industry nationwide.
While our projects vary in size and scope, all our projects share a similar vision; to create exceptional value in the communities they are built at. There is no better example of that than Cordoba’s work building the California High Speed Train, moving Space Shuttle Endeavour from LAX to the California Science Center, and working on nearly every major public infrastructure project in California.
Transportation Corridor Agencies Acting CEO Mike Kraman (right) shares the agency’s experience regarding the federal permitting process for infrastructure projects with members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
TCA CEO Testifies Before House T&I Committee
Mike Kraman, Acting CEO of the Transportation Corridor Agencies, testified before the House Transportation & Infrastructure’s subcommittee on Highways and Transit in Washington, D.C. in early September. The purpose of the hearing was to provide the committee members with real-life scenarios regarding the successes and challenges of the federal environment review and permitting process.
The following representatives from three other transportation agencies throughout the country joined Kraman:
- Hon. Carlos Braceras, Executive Director, Utah Department of Transportation
- Hon. Lynn Peterson, Secretary, Washington State Department of Transportation
- Carlos Swonke, Director, Environmental Affairs Division, Texas Department of Transportation
Kraman’s testimony was well received by the members of the committee and their staff. Click here to read a news article on the testimony.
SANBAG Business 2 Business Expo
Grow your business, discover new resources and interact with agency representatives. Network with Prime contractors, project managers and other small businesses!
Join SANBAG for three panel discussions:
- Learn how to do business with SANBAG and RCTC
- Receive information on upcoming capital projects at SANBAG and RCTC
- Proven strategies in securing a place on a prime contractor’s team
OCTA Business Expo
More than 500 business owners are expected to attend the 2014 OCTA Business Expo to network and discover how to effectively work with OCTA, private firms and other public agencies. The expo will deliver added value through an extended program featuring breakout sessions, roundtable discussions with industry leaders and decisions-makers, a lunch program, a VIP reception and abundant, well-organized exhibit space with generous time allotted for visiting the booths.
Transportation Events in the Community
Thursday, Oct. 23
WTS-IE: Professional Development Workshop
Thursday, Dec. 4
WTS-OC: 26th Annual Scholarship & Awards Dinner
Thursday, Jan. 22
WTS-IE: 10th Annual Scholarship & Awards Dinner
ACT Expo 2015