California to fund $1.2B in port improvement projects

California will spend $1.2 billion to upgrade port and supply chain infrastructure, with most of the money earmarked for improving the flow of goods at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

The California State Transportation Agency last Wednesday issued guidelines and a call for projects that would help “build a more efficient, sustainable and resilient goods movement system,” in a press release. The funding, part of the state’s recently-created port and freight infrastructure program, was finalized in the California state budget in June.

Seventy percent of the funding will go to projects that support the movement of goods through the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, per the release. The remainder will fund ports and goods movement infrastructure throughout the rest of the state.

“After decades of neglect, we are finally making the critical investments needed to modernize our ports – helping us to keep up with demand in a way that is environmentally sustainable and brings our distribution process into the 21st Century,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement.

Project applications are due Jan. 13, 2023, and with funding awards to be announced in March 2023.

The port and freight infrastructure program was created by an executive order last October calling on state agencies to develop long-term solutions to support freight movement. A report from the state’s Legislative Analyst’s Office noted that projects eligible for funding include intermodal railyard expansions, grade separations and zero‑emission goods movement demonstration projects.

“It is important to recognize that such infrastructure projects will not address the more immediate issues with the current supply chain disruptions, such as delays in goods movement, stalled ships near ports, and insufficient space for containers at ports,” LAO said in its report.

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