Transforming the port of Long Beach into a fully electrified green facility, constructing a freight rail system underneath river channel levies to Inland Empire distribution centers, and reducing truck traffic through the densest parts of Southern California, are some of the great features of the Gabriel River Infrastructure Development (GRID) Project.
The tremendous benefits of the project have impressed groups from Long Beach, where advocates are concerned with the link between pollution and childhood asthma; to East LA, where jobs and urban renewal are desperately needed; to the No 710 Action Committee, whose communities will be affected by a strong surge in truck traffic and who have pushed for “21st century alternatives” to freight transport in Southern California.
The port facility would be the first of its kind in the world with no fossil fuel emissions. The encompassing GRID is a paradigm-changing, futuristic alternative to conventional port expansion and freeway extension projects including the 710 Tunnel. Costs would be shared among many industries and communities benefiting from the system, in contrast to 6 current projects** linked only to future container traffic capacity in Southern California with cost estimates ranging higher than $22 billion.
Rather than a piecemeal approach to infrastructure, the GRID Project links international trade, goods movement, personal transportation alternatives, energy delivery, and extra space for new urban residential developments. New pipes built inside the river levies will be the path for underground rail tracks as well as electricity transmission. The concept requires no property condemnation, and would actually free up land occupied by port facilities and utility towers.
With a trench already in place, other pipes could carry desalinated water upstream. Above the freight lines, a light rail system could be installed following the same river route and providing connections to many intersecting lines, including the Gold Line east extension.
This is a grand scheme, involving the port, major construction and engineering interests, utilities, manufacturers, transportation agencies, and state and federal support. David Alba, who formerly worked at the port of Long Beach, conceived this plan and is promoting it to groups throughout the region with the support of Richard Mueller, President of Ameron International’s Water Transmission Group.
Alba and Mueller believe this is “A Project of A National Significance” that could attract billions in federal funding and assist the Southern California area in maintaining a premier port facility that can compete successfully with the new port Punta Colonet in Mexico and the planned 2014 expansion of the Panama Canal.
The backers believe this grand project could spark a “manufacturing renaissance that we need in this country” and propose that the project require U.S. contractors and suppliers. They also say it could also inspire big projects in other U.S. cities capitalizing on sustainable infrastructure, new technology, and underutilized assets.
Sunroom Desk will be following developments on this dramatic alternative to the 710 Tunnel and conventional freeway and port expansion projects in Southern California. The project may come up at this Saturday’s One Community meeting. 710 Tunnel opponent and Glendale mayor Ara Najarian is one of the panelists.
Thanks to David Alba for the port facility image and PowerPoint slide.
**6 conventional projects currently on the table:
1. 710 Tunnel
2. 710 Widening
3. Union Pacific Intermodal Container Transport Facility
4. BNSF Intermodal Container Tranport Facility
5. Port of Long Beach Expansion
6. Port of Long Beach Midharbor Project
Recent news coverage:
Residents Discuss Alternative to 710 Freeway Projects
A new wave against 710 tunnel