Posted by City of Industry Mayor Tim Spohn | June 25, 2014
With the economy starting to make a recovery, our aging transportation infrastructure cannot keep up with the rising demand to move goods and people. Nationwide, cities and transportation stakeholders have long lists of infrastructure improvement projects necessary to meet the demand, but there just is not enough funding to make them a reality. And worse, the Highway Trust Fund is on the brink of insolvency.
It is my hope that Congress will soon reauthorize Federal transportation policy and provide a robust, long-term stream of funding to stabilize the Highway Trust Fund and support our nation’s transportation infrastructure needs.
I was very pleased that Secretary Foxx recently took the time to visit the City of Industry and get a first-hand look at two of our most important infrastructure projects, the Alameda Corridor East Construction Authority’s (ACE) Nogales Street Grade Separation Project (Nogales) and the California SR-57/SR-60 Confluence Project (Confluence Project). These two projects are classic examples of how strategic local infrastructure investments can trigger public benefits such as increased mobility, improved safety, economic growth, and environmental protection.
Benefits that can extend beyond city limits and ripple across the country.
The City of Industry is primarily an industrial/warehouse transportation hub located to the east of downtown Los Angeles. We have a daily employment base of more than 65,000 people. A major 400-acre intermodal rail facility is located in the heart of the City and is fed by two separate rail lines that traverse the City. These east-west rail lines move interstate freight between the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles. Running through Industry and parallel with the rail lines is SR-60, a regionally and nationally significant freight corridor that provides a critical highway connection between these major ports and the rest of the U.S.
Businesses in the City gain access to SR-60 via nine major north/south arterial roadways which all cross both rail lines. As part of its comprehensive grade crossing improvement program, ACE is constructing grade separations along these arterials to reduce significant delays for truck and passenger traffic in reaching SR-60 and their ultimate destinations. The Nogales Project will promote the efficient movement of goods through our City, enhance overall mobility, and greatly improve safety. Federal support for the ACE Program has been an instrumental factor in its accomplishments.
The Confluence Project is a $256 million improvement to the interchange of SR-57 and SR-60. When the existing freeway interchange was designed, the underlying valley-shaped terrain forced both freeways into a common alignment for a distance of two miles, which is referred to as the Confluence. This creates a bottleneck where 17 lanes of traffic are condensed into 14 lanes, causing weaving, significant peak-hour delays, and high accident rates. The Confluence carries 340,000 vehicles per day, including more than 26,000 trucks, and is highly congested. In fact, it has been identified as one of the most congested segments in Southern California and as the Number 7 freight bottleneck in the entire nation.
We’re investing in our infrastructure to improve that.
But, if projects like these are to fully realize their potential –for the benefit of the City of Industry, businesses across America, and the goods on the shelves in stores near you– we must have a stable Highway Trust Fund and a fully funded Federal transportation program.