Tuesday, January 31, 2017

POLB Extends Rail Facility Comments Deadline by a Month

By Mark Edward Nero

The Port of Long Beach has extended by a month the comment period on a draft report studying a proposed rail support facility that would increase the use of on-dock trains, moving cargo more efficiently while making operations more sustainable.

The previous deadline was Feb. 13, but the public is now invited to submit written comments through March 13.

Also, an additional public hearing has been scheduled for 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 15 at Tepechi Restaurant, 1430 Santa Fe Ave., in Long Beach. The port has already hosted two public hearings on the draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Pier B On-Dock Rail Support Facility: one on Jan. 11 and another on Jan. 18.

The proposed Pier B On-Dock Rail Support Facility could shift more cargo to on-dock rail, where containers are placed directly on trains at marine terminals, significantly reducing trips by trucks throughout the region. No trucks would visit the facility. Instead, smaller train segments would be brought to the facility and joined together into a full-sized train.

The railyard would be operated by Pacific Harbor Line, which provides short haul rail transportation switching services, railroad track maintenance and train dispatching services under contract to the port. Pacific Harbor Line has converted its entire fleet to “clean” diesel locomotives that reduce air pollution and save fuel.

A project fact sheet, the draft EIR and a video about the proposed on-dock rail support facility are available at www.polb.com/PierB.

Also, comments can be made in person at the Feb. 15 public hearing or sent in writing to Heather Tomley, Director of Environmental Planning, 4801 Airport Plaza Drive, Long Beach, CA 90815 or heather.tomley@polb.com.