Green growth is finally becoming a reality at our region’s ports.
Just last week, the Clean Truck program celebrated its first anniversary. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson announced federal grant funding for cleaner cargo-moving equipment at the Port of Los Angeles.
And after nearly a decade of planning and debate, the Los Angeles Harbor Commission approved a $1.2-billion project to transform the San Pedro waterfront into a vibrant commercial and outdoor promenade expected to attract thousands of residents and tourist each year.
The San Pedro Waterfront Redevelopment project is a port makeover which will bring a needed economic boost to our region, along with a green and open waterfront for residents and visitors to enjoy. The 27-acre project will deliver an eight mile promenade packed with a 75,000-square-foot conference center, 300,000 square feet of commercial space, new arts and cultural attractions, a trolley car line, bike trails and walking paths and a vastly upgraded recreational marina – all built to the highest environmental standards.
The economic impact of the project is as significant as the plan itself. Investing $1.2-billion over the next 10 years, the San Pedro Waterfront Redevelopment will create 4,900 permanent and 17,000 one-year equivalent jobs. The redevelopment will also provide a boost to L.A.’s lucrative cruise industry, which spends more than $200 million regionally each year. In fact, a single cruise ship visit generates more than $250,000 in local spending by passengers and crew on harbor area hotels, local restaurants and other businesses.
A key element to maximizing the projects full economic potential is the creation of a new outer terminal to house Disney’s cruise operations to Southern California. The outer cruise terminal is critical because of the size of Disney’s new ships, which would have to sail a mile and a half backwards down the port’s existing channel if nothing were built. As waterfront construction begins, we urge the Port of Los Angeles to carry through on its plans to build the outer cruise terminal despite objections that will surely continue from those who will continue to try to block this development – regardless of the community or environmental benefits – as they have for nearly a decade.
The Port’s primary mission is a commercial one that greatly serves the economy of our region and our nation. While we must continue to balance the residential and recreational needs of our port communities, we cannot forget that green growth starts – first and foremost – with economic opportunity.
The L.A. Area Chamber applauds the Port of Los Angeles and the Harbor Commission for taking great strides to be a good neighbor by successfully implementing a Clean Air Action Plan, developing the greenest terminals in the world and now planning to build a recreational gem for San Pedro. We hope that local residents will return the favor by helping the Port attract new customers to serve the economic interests of their own neighborhoods and the entire region.
Gary Toebben is the President & CEO of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce. For more, visit Fox & Hounds Daily.