Mike Rogge

Freight mobility improvements highlighted

By Mike Rogge

Capitol Update, Nov. 13, 2015 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

On November 4th, Assembly Member Jim Frazier (D-Oakley) and his Assembly Transportation Committee staff held a meeting of business and transportation stakeholders to discuss freight issues. There was a concern that environmental priorities are being inserted into freight planning after the fact even though communities have already endorsed the projects with a 2/3rds majority vote and 70 percent of the cost is paid by them in order to get the needed federal share. Priorities already evaluated regionally are now being ignored.

Assembly Member Frazier expressed angst that there doesn’t seem to be a single person that can be held responsible either at CalTrans or anywhere else in state government for improving the movement of freight, experienced in making projections and responsible if the projects fail to produce the intended results. He wants to see someone designated as “freight czar.” Stakeholders believe that freight efficiencies, economic competitiveness and stranded assets are being totally ignored and expertise on the freight component is absent at CalTrans.

It was pointed out that investments in environmental improvements have to be based on increases in volume moving forward. Earlier ARB projections for the ports were far overstated and while environmental improvements were implemented, stranded costs have never been acknowledged.

The freight industry needs to grow in order to implement and pay for environmental projects.

Frazier asked for suggestions for legislation that might help expedite projects that he and other committee members could carry.

A follow-up meeting for the group is scheduled for December with a committee hearing proposed after the first of the year to settle the question of responsibility and to ask for regular progress reports.

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