The cities along the route of the Alameda Corridor have lost whatever say they might have had in the development of the $1.8 billion transportation project.
Armed with a court ruling that they say gives them the power to establish a joint powers authority any way they see fit, the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have removed the cities from the Alameda Corridor Transportation Authority, the organization responsible for overseeing the project.
The ports and the cities Vernon, Compton, Lynwood and South Gate have been embroiled in conflict over control of the project’s purse strings. A series of lawsuits filed by the cities against the two seaports is blamed for delaying construction of the 22-mile rail corridor, which is designed to speed cargo from the ports to the rail yards and distribution centers near downtown L.A.
In November, a California appeals court dismissed a suit by the four cities, which sought to force the two ports to relinquish their exclusive control over contracting and other financial decisions.
The cities are appealing that ruling to the California Supreme Court.
The reconstituted ACTA will now have seven members: three from Los Angeles, three from Long Beach and one from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. A majority of five will be necessary to make financial decisions.
Prior to the reorganization, ACTA had 15 members, including representatives from Caltrans, L.A. County and a number of the cities along the corridor’s route. But financial decisions were controlled by the organization’s powerful finance committee, which was dominated by the two ports.
The reorganization leaves the corridor cities without a vote on how to mitigate the effects of building the corridor, which the cities say will wreak havoc with traffic and local businesses.
Despite the new, streamlined ACTA, the organization still needs to reach some kind of mitigation agreement with the corridor cities before construction of the project can begin in earnest.
Lynwood also filed another lawsuit of its own, charging that the Alameda Corridor needs a new environmental impact statement because cargo volume at the ports is growing faster than anticipated in the original study. The suit seeks to halt construction until a new EIR is prepared.
Meanwhile, ACTA has begun seeking bids on the corridor’s first construction project of 1997 a railroad bridge across the Los Angeles River, near Washington Boulevard at the route’s northern end in the City of L.A.
Construction of the $7 million bridge is expected to begin in April, said ACTA General Manager Gill Hicks.