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The Alameda Corridor: A Blueprint for Future?The Alameda Corridor: A Blueprint for Future?

Summary and Observations of the USC/CSULB Metrans Transportation Center and the USC Keston Institute for Public Finance and Infrastructure Policy Joint Conference
February 10, 2004
Genevieve Giuliano
School of Policy, Planning and Development
University of Southern California


Introduction

The Alameda Corridor is a twenty mile long rail cargo expressway linking the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to the transcontinental rail line near Downtown Los Angeles. Built at a total cost of approximately $2.4 billion, the project commenced commercial operations in April 2002. The project is among the few public infrastructure projects built in recent years that opened on time and within budget.

The USC/CSULB Metrans Transportation Center and the USC Keston Institute for Infrastructure co-organized a half day conference to reflect on the reasons behind successful completion of the Alameda Corridor and to consider whether the Alameda Corridor might provide a blueprint for future major infrastructure projects. Motivation for the conference comes from the successful public-private partnerships and the innovative financing model that evolved during conception and building of the project. The conference was attended by researchers and representatives from the Alameda Corridor Transportation Authority (ACTA), Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, USDOT, State, Regional and local public agencies, railroads, and academic institutions among others.

The conference brought forth several important suggestions regarding the institutional structure and assembly of finances needed for putting together large public infrastructure projects. It also raised several unanswered questions. The conference highlighted the need for both careful, in-depth research on the Alameda Corridor as well as a better understanding of the economics of goods movement associated with the ports.

The Conference actually dealt with three questions:

1) How did the Alameda Corridor manage to be built on time and within budget?

2) How is the Alameda Corridor performing with respect to revenues and container volumes?

3) Is it a blueprint for future major infrastructure projects?

The remainder of this summary is organized around these three questions.