Friday, May 10, 2013

SCIG Receives LA City Council Approval

On an 11-2 vote, the Los Angeles City Council on May 8 gave final approval to the proposed Southern California International Gateway (SCIG) intermodal rail yard, a planned rail yard project near the Port of Los Angeles.

The near-dock rail container transfer facility represents a private investment of more than $500 million by Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway, which plans to develop and operate the rail yard on a 185-acre site.

The Port of Los Angeles Harbor Commission approved the project in March.

“This is a good project from both an environmental and economic point of view,” Councilman Joe Buscaino, a strong supporter of the project, said. “This will be the cleanest rail yard ever built in this country and will mean a reduction in air pollution through better cargo handling and eliminating one million truck trips a year on the freeway.”

The project had been opposed by local residents and environmental activists who have said that the facility would bring more noise and air pollution to an area that has already suffered from plenty of both over the years due to port-related activities.

The two ‘no’ votes were cast by Council members Bernard Parks and Jan Perry, who said they had concerns about how the noise and air pollution generated by the project would affect the nearby residential areas.

“It doesn't look like we’ve done our best to deal with these issues,” Parks said. “There are still fundamental issues that need to be resolved.”

With the project now approved, construction’s due to begin later this year on the near-dock rail yard, which would transfer containerized cargo between trucks and railcars about four miles north of the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports, primarily on land owned by the City of Los Angeles Harbor Dept., as well as on adjacent private land in Los Angeles, Long Beach and Carson.

The facility’s expected to open in 2016.