LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – A multibillion-dollar loan deal was announced Thursday between the state and the US Department of Transportation to fund infrastructure improvements to help remove the shipping bottleneck at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
The partnership will allow California to accelerate work on port-specific upgrades, expand freight rail capacity, develop inland port facilities to expand warehouse storage, and modernize highways to improve truck travel times, including around San Pedro Bay and in the Inland Empire. The loan will also help start construction of electrifying railway stations and trucks, establish land ports of entry to expand trade capacity and cross-border commerce, and make level crossings safer and more efficient.
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“California’s ports and infrastructure system are critical to the nation’s supply chain,” Governor Gavin Newsom said in a statement. “Through our collaboration with the Biden-Harris administration, this innovative federal-state partnership will help us accelerate projects that will make our ports and infrastructure even more efficient.”
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The pandemic brought about a number of factors that crippled the global shipping chain. Outbreaks have closed factories overseas, and the shortage of containers and shipping drivers has led to a historic save at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, which are already the country’s busiest ports.
“Our supply chains are under strain, with unprecedented consumer demand and disruption from a pandemic combined with the results of decades of underinvestment in our infrastructure,” the US Secretary of State said. Transports Pete Buttigieg in a statement.
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State and federal authorities are still working on short-term solutions to help remove the current bottleneck in ports. Part of that work includes the federal government relying on private companies to expand their operations around the clock, a move to which ports, unions, Walmart, Target, FedEx, UPS and Home Depot have committed. The Department of Transportation is also working with local and state DMVs to speed up the process of obtaining a commercial driver’s license for truck drivers.