City of Industry, Calif. – Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, U.S. Rep. Grace Napolitano, Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis, elected leaders from throughout the region and the heads of major transportation agencies will gather here on Oct. 26 for the San Gabriel Valley General Assembly 2016. The conference, at the Pacific Palms Resort, will be hosted and organized by the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments (SGVCOG), and will focus on transportation challenges and opportunities along the most vital goods movement corridor in the United States. It comes as lawmakers from Southern California push for more robust funding for highway and freight infrastructure. “There is no more critical issue for the San Gabriel Valley and for Southern California than the quality of our transportation infrastructure. It will determine where we go as a region, literally and figuratively,” said Gene Murabito, Mayor of Glendora and President of the SGVCOG. The program will be highlighted by presentations from Garcetti, Napolitano, Solis, State Sen. Bob Huff and some of the top transportation policy experts in the region, including:
  • Philip A. Washington, Chief Executive Officer for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (METRO).
  • John Fasana, METRO’s Board Chair and a City Council member from Duarte.
  • Hasan Ikhrata, Executive Director of the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG).
  • Mark  Christoffels, Chief Executive Officer of the Alameda Corridor-East Construction Authority (ACE).
  • Habib Balian, Chief Executive Officer of the Foothill Gold Line.
Other confirmed attendees include mayors and Council members from most of the 31 cities within the SGVCOG region. The SGVCOG is a joint powers authority made up of representatives of the 31 cities, three Los Angeles County Supervisorial Districts and three Water Districts. The valley’s highways and rail lines are among the busiest in nation, and are critical to the efficient movement of people and goods throughout Southern California. According to SCAG, freight and related industries represent one-third of all jobs and economic activity in the region. With that, however, comes  added congestion, traffic safety issues and air quality concerns. Among the major transportation-related projects in development or underway in the San Gabriel Valley are interchange improvements at the confluence of the 57 and 60 Freeways, grade separations and other freight-related mobility and safety improvements under the authority of ACE, and expansion of commuter rail service. Regional leaders hope to take advantage of a growing awareness in Sacramento and Washington of the importance of transportation and goods movement to economic growth, job creation and quality of life. The most recent federal surface transportation reauthorization bill, signed by President Obama in December 2015, includes – for the first time – funding for a federal freight program. In addition to ongoing and proposed improvements in freight infrastructure, investment in commuter service and active transportation systems is gaining traction throughout the region. The recent opening of the Foothill Gold Line has proved more popular than anticipated, attracting more than 32,000 passengers a week. Plans are underway to extend the Fold Line’s southern arm farther east. Bikeways and walking trails are providing healthy, and environmentally friendly, transportation alternatives – in many cases, providing first-mile/last-mile connections to transit stations. The San Gabriel Valley General Assembly will include a discussion of SCAG’s recently adopted 2016-2040 Regional Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy, which identifies $556 billion in needed transportation-related investments for the six-county region. The conference also will feature presentation of the SGVCOG’s annual leadership awards.