BNSF Railway Company has announced significant enhancements to its proposed Southern California International Gateway (SCIG) based on input from residents, community leaders, and elected and port officials. “We’ve spoken one-on-one with more than 200 households near the facility and received feedback from hundreds of key stakeholders. We listened to their concerns and are adding several important features to make SCIG the greenest rail facility in the United States. We believe these enhancements are consistent with local elected officials’ vision for green growth and job creation,” said Matthew K. Rose, chairman, president and chief executive officer of BNSF.
In addition to BNSF’s original commitments, which include electric cranes, LNG or equivalent yard tractors and low-emission switch engines—making the facility the cleanest in the United States—BNSF today commits to the following enhancements in connection with SCIG:
- 100% of the truck fleet servicing SCIG will be 2007 or newer upon facility opening—exceeding compliance with the San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan (CAAP).
- Trucks serving SCIG will be limited to traveling on specified non-residential truck routes and be equipped with global positioning satellite (GPS) devices to monitor and enforce compliance.
- BNSF’s operating contractor will give qualified local residents first priority for all new job offers at SCIG.
- BNSF will fund a workforce training program to assist area residents in obtaining these jobs.
- BNSF will plant an “urban forest” at the site to improve air quality and aesthetics.
- BNSF will fund construction of a sound wall east of SCIG to diminish current freeway noise and looks forward to working with local residents to determine its location.
BNSF also commits to participating in the new CAAP Technology Committee to continually reevaluate alternative cargo movement technology.
“Our forecasts show that SCIG will take millions of truck miles off the regional freeway system and we believe these measures will help accomplish that and also help protect the air quality in the neighborhoods adjacent to SCIG, by allowing only clean trucks to serve the rail facility in a controlled manner from day one,” Rose said.
Gill V. Hicks, transportation consultant and Chairman of CALMITSAC, said, “BNSF’s commitment to require the use of 2007 model year trucks demonstrates that the company is serious about protecting the health of the community. SCIG will also result in greater use of the Alameda Corridor and will eliminate over a million truck trips per year on I-710.” Gary Toebben, president of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, noted, “Today’s commitments demonstrate how important it is for all sides to listen to each other and work together to develop projects that improve the community and support the economy. For every day we delay this project, we miss an opportunity to clean up the air.”
With trade flowing through the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach expected to double by 2020 and nearly triple by 2030, SCIG is a crucial part of the solution to meeting the ports’ forecasted growth while minimizing regional traffic and air quality impacts. SCIG will provide much-needed near-dock capacity with direct access to the Alameda Corridor, a 20-mile grade separated rail line between the ports and downtown Los Angeles.
“It’s not whether the cargo will continue to arrive at the ports, but how we will handle it when it does. With this announcement, BNSF has really stepped up to promote green growth,” concluded Randy Gordon, president of the Long Beach Chamber of Commerce.
A subsidiary of Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation, BNSF Railway Company operates one of the larg