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Pier B rail project could displace up to 30 businesses, 2 residents as port expands rail capacity

Long Beach Post
Long Beach Post
 2022-11-26

Thirty businesses and two residents could be displaced near the Port of Long Beach, as the agency is slated to acquire 49 parcels to continue work on the $1.5 billion Pier B railyard project that is expected to speed up goods movement at the complex.

The Pier B railyard project has been in the works for years but was delayed due to a lengthy environmental review process that drew out the timeline and nearly doubled the price tag—it was once projected to cost $870 million.

Once completed, port officials estimate that the project could save about 750 truck trips for every full train, which would both reduce pollution and increase productivity.

A relocation plan for the impacted residents and businesses was released earlier this month that outlined the options for those who will be displaced from the footprint of the Pier B project, which is expected to be built in phases and completed in 2032.

Of the 30 non-residential entities that could be displaced by the project, 24 are active businesses, many of which provide port-related services including boat repair, trucking, and container service and storage.

The two residents who could be displaced both live on the premises of the businesses where they work because of reduced rent.

Most of the affected parcels are located west of the 710 Freeway and between Anaheim Street and Pier B Street. The project’s footprint is about 171 acres.

The report estimates the impacted businesses employ 164 people and have annual revenues totaling nearly $35 million and monthly lease payments of about $117,000.

A representative from the port was not available to comment on the displacement plan’s effects on local businesses.

The relocation plan outlines the kinds of help that the port would provide to the businesses and residents.

Both the two residents and the businesses would be eligible for moving costs and short-term help with paying any increases in the lease or rental payments. Business owners would also be eligible for a fixed payment of up to $40,000.

Businesses that don’t own impacted property but are leasing affected spaces could get help with packing and storing their personal property, disconnecting and reconnecting machinery at their new business locations, including connecting the machinery to the utility grid, and the cost of licenses or permits to operate at their new facilities.

Those leasing businesses could also be eligible for a higher payment than property owners—a reestablishment allowance of up to $100,000 each, which is $65,000 over what is legally required, according to the report.

In total, the port estimates that relocation costs could be around $9 million for businesses and the two residents. That figure does not include acquiring the privately owned parcels where some of the businesses currently exist.

The port is holding a virtual public meeting Dec. 7 to update the community on the Pier B project, and the window for public comments to be submitted for the relocation plan closes Dec. 9.

The port was able to claim $52.3 million in federal funding for the project earlier this year after a final environmental impact statement was issued by the U.S. Maritime Administration in April. Construction on the first phase of the project is expected to start sometime in 2023 with an expansion of railways and a new locomotive facility that could double the port’s rail capacity.

Over the past two decades, the port has focused on capital improvement projects to increase goods movement efficiencies, like the new International Gateway Bridge that now allows larger ships to enter the back channels of the port, along with several rail projects .

The port pledged to emit zero emissions by 2035 in the 2017 Clean Air Action Plan, and moving goods via rail could contribute to reaching that goal. The projected cost of getting to zero emissions was estimated at $14 billion when the action plan was adopted.

The Dec. 7 meeting will be held on Zoom and begin at 10 a.m. Register here .

Port of Long Beach takes a step forward on Pier B on-dock rail project

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