CALTRANS TO HOLD PUBLIC HEARING JULY 24 IN SAN DIEGO ON FREIGHT MOVEMENT PLAN

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By Miriam Raftery

June 22, 2014 (San Diego) – Caltrans will hold a public workshop July 24 from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Caltrans office complex in San Diego (Garcia Room), 4050 Taylor Street.  The transportation agency seeks public comments on a draft California Freight Mobility Plan that aims to improve freight movement and reduce environmental impacts on the state’s highways, seaports and railways.

While the hearing aims to shape a new freight plan focused on sustainability and trade improvements, it will also provide an opportunity for residents locally to weigh in with concerns on issues such as congestion caused by trucking along State Route 94 and deteriorating roadway conditions on I-8 in East County, as local community newspaper editors have recently observed.

“To maintain and improve California’s status as the eighth-largest economy in the world, we must create a multimodal freight plan that sustains freight jobs, improves transportation, protects the environment and our communities,” said Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty.

The U.S. Department of Transportation will rely on the California Freight Mobility Plan and other state freight plans as it shapes a national freight plan. Projects identified in California’s plan will be eligible to apply for a higher percentage of federal funding.

 This plan is especially important because California is a national and global trade leader. Of the country’s internationally traded consumer products, about 40 percent is transported through California’s seaports 

California has set aggressive goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and achieve a sustainable environment. The freight plan’s goal is to transition the freight industry to zero or near zero emissions by 2050. California has already made progress in reducing freight’s effects through better engines, cleaner fuels, infrastructure changes, and improved operations.

Recent Caltrans projects to improve freight shipping include the Otay Mesa East Port of Entry, a  tolled land port of entry designed to significantly reduce border wait times and expedite the flow of goods between California and Mexico. Caltrans broke ground on the project last year.

Other notable recente projects include fast-track truck scales in Cordelia, the Gerald Desmond Bridge in Long Beach designed to allow the world’s largest ships to pass under, and the Colton crossing, a rail project with elevated overpass estimated to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 34,000 tons each year.

Caltrans is developing the freight mobility plan in partnership with the California State Transportation Agency, the freight industry, public agencies, Native American tribal governments, and advocacy groups.

The plan will be finalized by the end of this year. To view the draft plan, informational materials, and to receive more details on the public workshops, please visit: www.cfmp.dot.ca.gov.

Those unable to attend a meeting in person, can comment by email (cfmp@dot.ca.gov.) or send a letter or a completed comment card to: California Department of Transportation, Division of Transportation Planning, Office of System, Freight, and Rail Planning, 1120 N Street, MS 32, Sacramento, CA 95814. Comments must be submitted by July 31, 2014.