Plans made for the inner port of Mojave Air and Space Port
MOJAVE, Calif. — Fifteen years after Los Angeles County launched an ultimately unrealized campaign to create an inland port in Palmdale, the Kern County Board of Supervisors has signed a proclamation supporting a proposal to build a transportation hub in next generation adjacent to Mojave Air and Space Port.
The proclamation announced the county’s agreement to support the intention of two private sector companies to finance, plan and build a 402 or 410 acre inland port adjacent to the Mojave Air and Space Port.
Located 90 miles north of the ports of Long Beach and San Pedro, the inland port of Mojave would receive from mega seaports an estimated 3 million cargo shipping containers per year arriving on Union Pacific Railroad tracks and on trucks using the SR-14 Antelope Valley Highway.
The reported privately funded project involves a collaboration between Kern County, the Governor’s Office for Business and Economic Development, Houston-based holding company Pioneer Partners, and Greenbriar Capital, LLC. In its press release, Greenbriar Capital said what it called California’s first inland dryland port would be the largest in the United States and could support up to 3,000 new jobs while generating economic impact. more than half a billion dollars annually.
Project cost estimates were not provided.
Pioneer Partners Chairman Richard Kellogg said in his company’s press release, “This one-of-a-kind project will help ease congestion in the twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach; it will help the national economy by reducing pressure on the supply chain; this will help the local economy by creating jobs.
Kellogg’s statement concluded: “Goods will get to businesses and consumers faster and more efficiently. We can’t wait to get started.
According to the Pioneer Partners press release, the Inner Harbor is scheduled to open by 2023, with a grand opening in 2024. The release quoted Kern County Planning Director Lorelei Oviatt as saying that the Inner Harbor of Mojave is a fully licensed industrial site. Pioneer Partners said it will work with Kern County to obtain necessary building permits.
Trelynd Bradley of the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development wrote in a statement to the media, “Inland ports are a critical part of the future balance of our supply chain. They can provide flexibility and efficiency, while relieving traffic congestion at critical choke points. He added, “We appreciate the work that Pioneer’s Mojave Inland Port proposal has done to help find new solutions to our supply chain challenges.
Containers are expected to arrive in Mojave from ports in Los Angeles straddling the Union Pacific mainline via shuttle trains, and are to be distributed via National Highways 15 and 58.
The presence of Mojave Air and Space Port (MASP), briefly mentioned during the Bakersfield session as having land available for development along Highways 14 and 58, and being one of the few sites with an airport, highway and rail transport. The developers also noted that the location was chosen because of its proximity to undeveloped land for warehouses and industry.
In its press release, Pioneer Partners predicted that MASP would see more traffic due to the location of the port. “We believe the additional container traffic to Mojave will boost its use as an air and space cargo hub, taking advantage of the 12,500 foot heavy haul runway directly adjacent to a new intermodal cargo hub. at the cutting edge of technology. ”
Mojave Air and Space Port’s only written response was a letter from the departure airport’s CEO, Michael Lindner, to Kern County, Oviatt’s planning chief. Lindner wrote that he found the proposed port did not conflict with air and space port zoning and land use issues.
Beacon Economics, LLC, a private research consultancy based in Los Angeles, completed the feasibility study for the project, estimating that it will generate $113 million, create 662 regional jobs during construction and add $73 million to the Kern County property tax base. Beacon also estimated that the port development will eventually create 2,851 permanent jobs in Kern County.
Pioneer Partners, whose largest project to date is a 2,200-acre brownfield development in Henderson, Nevada, said 75 people will work directly for the inner port, “engaging with more than 1,000 truck drivers .
The plan calls for stranded cargo ports in San Pedro and Long Beach, where there is no room for growth, to send railcars carrying containers to Mojave for offloading and transshipment by road or rail to the destination cities and states.
Michael D. Antonovich, retired Los Angeles County Fifth District Supervisor who spearheaded the initial inland port effort in Palmdale, told Aerotech News, “As you know so well, inland ports would grow rapidly the efficiency of our supply chain from ports, would significantly reduce congestion and the dismantling of our highways, highways, roads, and reduce insurance and medical costs.
Michael Cano, who served as Antonovich’s transportation assistant in North LA County’s Inner Harbor planning effort, is now assistant general manager for freight movement planning and transportation policy and programming. for the Los Angeles County Metro County Planning Department.
Among his duties, Cano leads the development of LA County’s strategic freight movement plan, planning and integration of multimodal corridors, grant applications for state and freight programs, project development and the analysis of local-state-federal policies for the movement of goods at Metro.
The sum of this means that Metro’s Freight Task Force brings together stakeholders from state, local, and private entities directly involved in the movement of goods in Los Angeles County. Cano is also Metro’s representative on the California Freight Advisory Committee.
In interviews with Aerotech News, inland port pioneers Antonovich and Cano recalled challenges overcome, those that weren’t, lessons learned and their thoughts on what might work better this time around and why.
Antonovich said the need to reduce heavy truck congestion on the region’s freeways and highways is even greater now than it was in mid-summer 2007 when he brought together officials representing the transit agencies, ports, railways, city planners, road and highway services and businesses. The LA Times quoted him as saying, “The congestion is here and it’s only going to get worse. We must act now to fix the problem.
Then, as now, much of the cargo lifted from ships in seaports was loaded onto large platforms that clogged highways at all hours, causing traffic jams and contributing to air pollution. air and an increasing rate of highway accidents.
A few years before LA began its inland port effort, the county built a trench for trains from the ports to the downtown rail yards. What was called the Alameda Corridor eased the surface congestion of congestion on the first leg of the route, but only moved the bottleneck north, authorities found.
The next stage of LA County development was Antonovich’s concept of using rail and road to quickly move goods from the seaport to large swaths of undeveloped land near Army Plant 42 from the air in Palmdale. From there, the goods would be transshipped to the final destinations.
And then as now, a major hurdle to building transportation infrastructure was two questions: how much would it cost and who would pay the bills?
At the time, the issue of funding seemed less pressing. In 2006 – just a year before Antonovich launched the Palmdale Inner Harbor initiative, California voters passed a $19.9 billion statewide haulage requirement, with $3.2 billion allocated to improving the movement of goods through seaports via highways and rail.
With this staging, Antonovich summoned the multiple agencies needed to cooperate in the creation of the Antelope Valley Inner Harbor.
Key to unlocking an inland port in Palmdale was a joint use agreement involving the Air Force, the City of Palmdale, and Los Angeles World Airways (LAWA). The agreement allowing commercial air traffic has provided leverage in the pursuit of economic development and job creation.
Following the demise of the Palmdale Inner Harbor idea, several Antelope Valley leaders observed LAWA dragging its feet in supporting commercial uses in Palmdale, while supporting the Ontario airport.
Other obstacles to the success of Palmdale’s inner harbor plan were the limitations of the most direct access routes from the Los Angeles Basin. The railroad from LA to Palmdale was limited in its carrying capacity, and Highway 14 was not yet expanded. Officials have been studying tunneling through the mountains to build a new freeway from Pasadena, using toll revenue to build a High Desert Corridor to connect Lancaster and Palmdale in the west to Highway I -5 and east to I-15 in San Bernardino. And it was considered to use magnetic levitation (mag-lev) technology for freight trains.