SAN PEDRO, Calif.—The Port of Los Angeles received a $20 million federal grant Sept. 7 to help construct a four-lane bridge and alleviate a significant trucking bottleneck to and from an 80-acre marine support facility.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg joined Mayor Eric Garcetti and other local officials aboard the USS Iowa on Wednesday at the port to announce the funding, which is part of $2.2 billion allocated through the Biden administration’s Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity program.
“This grant will mean less traffic and less pollution,” Garcetti said. “It will mean more jobs. It will mean quicker throughput and fewer accidents. Who could be against that?”
The marine support facility was repurposed last year to store chassis for the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, though the lack of a bridge for trucks to cross the rail line that loops around the facility led to a bottleneck, with only one way in and out.
That impeded the movement of hundreds of thousands of cargo containers. Trucks also could only drive around 5 mph because of the small gap between the top of the truck and the roof of the tunnel leading out of the facility, according to Buttigieg.
“This is what good infrastructure investments look like,” Buttigieg said. “It’s not about the numbers on the page and the dollars in the spreadsheet. It’s about putting them to work to solve problems, and that’s what’s going on right here.”
The grade separation project is expected to break ground within the next 15 to 18 months, according to Gene Seroka, executive director of the Port of Los Angeles.
“We are now at a milestone moment with respect to investment in our nation’s ports, and it’s critical that the funding goes where it’s needed most,” Seroka said, noting that cargo from the Port of Los Angeles reaches every congressional district in the country.
Local officials thanked the Biden administration for what they believed was overdue recognition from the federal government.
“This port moves jobs in America,” Garcetti said. “But for too long, we’ve been the forgotten stepchildren—in Long Beach and L.A.—of Washington D.C. We’re 3,000 miles away.”
Garcetti jokingly referred to Buttigieg, who also made a trip to Los Angeles in July, as “our sugar daddy from Washington, D.C.”
Rep. Nanette Barragán (D-Calif.) said she would continue to lobby for more funding.
“For far too long in Congress, the Port of Los Angeles has been the biggest producer and has not gotten its fair share,” Barragán said. “And this administration has heard that. They know that.”