Newsom, Buttigieg announce multi-billion loan program for California's ports, infrastructure

Rob Hayes Image
Friday, October 29, 2021
Multi-billion loan program announced for CA's ports, infrastructure
The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach will soon have a new source of funding to help alleviate the growing backlog of container ships.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach will soon have a new source of funding to help alleviate the growing backlog of container ships.

Gov. Gavin Newsom and the U.S. Department of Transportation, headed by Secretary Pete Buttigieg, announced on Thursday a multi-billion dollar loan program designed to improve California's supply chain infrastructure and both of Southern California's ports.

"This partnership will help us jumpstart and support multiple infrastructure projects to improve our supply chain, making sure goods get to where they need to go faster, cheaper, and in a more environmentally-friendly manner," Newsom said.

The Emerging Projects Agreement will use funds from the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) and Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing (RRIF) to develop a set of projects in California to stimulate supply chain improvements, according to the Biden administration's Port Envoy John D. Porcari.

RELATED: LA, Long Beach ports to fine companies for lingering containers

Starting Nov. 1, shippers will be charged a fee for containers waiting to be picked up at the ports of L.A. and Long Beach - the latest plan to ease the backlog of ships and containers at the ports.

Aside from port improvements, the funding will also target freight rail, inland port warehousing, electric trains and trucks, in addition to other supply chain upgrades.

Earlier this month, President Joe Biden announced plans to keep the ports open around the clock, but two weeks later, the backlog persists and local officials are warning people to expect the port tangles to possibly last a year.

"According to the port, we're looking at some time second quarter, third quarter of next year that we'll start seeing some improvements," said Los Angeles City Councilman Joe Buscaino, who represents the district the Port of L.A. sits in.

Meanwhile, with ships unable to unload their cargo fast enough, semi-trucks are piling up in the area around the ports.

And so are empty shipping containers. The city of Long Beach is now temporarily allowing shipping companies to stack containers higher to allow for more of them to be off-loaded from ships.

The Port of L.A. is now able to fine companies that let shipping containers sit around too long.

The fines will kick in for containers that are at the port longer than nine days. And those fines could add up quickly - $100 per container and increasing by $100 increments every day after that.