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LaHood Marks $15 Million Federal TIGER Grant for Port of Oakland

Published Jul 12, 2012 3:43 PM by The Maritime Executive

Federal Grant for Port's First Phase Rail Project to Boost Regional Economy

US Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood and California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. visited the Port of Oakland Army Base redevelopment site Monday, July 9, 2012 to see where the Port will be constructing the first phase of its rail project that received $15 million in federal TIGER grant funding. The $15 million is from the fourth round of the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program (FY2012).

“The Obama Administration is committed to making our ports the best in the world,” said US Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood. “The Port of Oakland is already the leading export gateway on the West Coast and this TIGER grant will help boost rail access and capacity, which will contribute to the economic growth of the region.”

The Outer Harbor Intermodal Terminal (OHIT) Rail Access project of the Port of Oakland will improve rail access to and from the Port and expand the Port’s rail capacity, leading to faster and cleaner goods movement in Northern California, while also providing vital rail access for the proposed Oakland Army Base redevelopment. These federal funds, along with additional local and state funding, will support this critical transportation project.

“This $15 million grant from the federal government boosts state and local efforts to create thousands of jobs by investing nearly $1.5 billion in Bay Area transportation projects. We’re not just rebuilding our infrastructure – we are also rebuilding our middle class,” stated Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.

The Port of Oakland handles 99% of all containerized goods in Northern California and is the only major U.S. West Coast container port that handles more exports than imports.

“I am very pleased this federal funding we fought for is coming to the Port of Oakland, where it will create jobs and make important infrastructure improvements. The Port of Oakland’s ship-to-rail exchange project is an excellent investment of federal funds in local and national economies because it both creates jobs and it improves critical public infrastructure in the Bay Area,” said Congresswoman Barbara Lee. “This $15 million TIGER grant for the Port of Oakland is a clear example of the success of the TIGER grant program and why we must preserve and protect TIGER grants from efforts to end the funding.”

Agriculture represents approximately 40% of the total value of exports through the Port of Oakland, which is the premier export seaport for California agricultural products from the wine country to the Central Valley.

California Transportation and Housing Agency Acting Secretary Brian P. Kelly said, “Five years ago California passed a historic infrastructure bond package that for the first time targeted state transportation funds at improving our trade corridors. The intent was to leverage the state funds in a way that improves mobility and air quality at and around California’s ports. This grant is an example of how that state and federal partnership should work to improve infrastructure, create jobs and spur our economy.”

The federal funding will be matched more than one-to-one to launch the first phase of the OHIT Rail Access project, which is part of the joint City-Port OAB redevelopment plan.

California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. at the podium with (from left to right in background) Port of Oakland Executive Director Omar R. Benjamin, Port Commission President Pamela Calloway, and Port Director of External Affairs Isaac Kos-Read.

 

“This grant is another giant step forward toward implementing a transformative project at the Port of Oakland which will translate into thousands of jobs for our city and will spur economic growth for generations to come. We are grateful to Secretary Ray LaHood, the Obama Administration and Congresswoman Lee for their leadership in creating jobs,” stated Mayor Jean Quan. “The TIGER grant-funded Rail Access project provides a critical link between the new logistics center and the existing port infrastructure making Oakland one of the most efficient ports in the nation.”

This project is about making the Port of Oakland more business competitive and environmentally friendly.

Port of Oakland Commission President Pamela Calloway said, “We have a strong team in place that is committed to seeing this project succeed. This includes our partners at the City of Oakland; our regional partners with the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Alameda County Transportation Commission; and the state of California, which is poised to deliver an additional $240 million for the full Army Base build-out.” Commissioner Calloway added, “I want to thank Representative Barbara Lee, Senator Barbara Boxer, Senator Dianne Feinstein, and Representative John Garamendi, among others, who have fought for the development of the Army Base all along the way.”

This OHIT rail project will deliver greater efficiencies in the Port of Oakland’s rail operations, create additional capacity for cargo movement at the seaport, reduce congestion on local roads and highways, create jobs, and promote sustainable economic growth in the region.

“We appreciate the support of the Department of Transportation and the support that Secretary LaHood and his staff have shown towards modernizing and improving the nation’s ports, and for the efforts they have made here in Oakland and Northern California. We need support from every level of government if we are going to make this project a reality,” said Port of Oakland Executive Director Omar R. Benjamin.

Project Details: TIGER funds will boost rail access and capacity at the Port of Oakland by building a new arrival track and high-speed turnout from Union Pacific’s mainline, two track leads into the port’s new Joint Intermodal Terminal, and a new manifest yard (Knight Yard) to replace the former Oakland Army Base Yard. Knight Yard will be able to handle 100-150 rail cars per day. The TIGER project is a crucial first step in creating a world class trade and logistics hub at the former Oakland Army Base.

The combined City of Oakland redevelopment and the Port’s first phase rail access project on the former Oakland Army Base property is approximately a $500 million investment. The Port of Oakland is one of only six U.S. ports with a 50-foot deep harbor that can accommodate large container ships.

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Source: http://www.portofoakland.com/