The Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) on Thursday urged significant investment in infrastructure, technology and systems to support the region’s role as a global supply chain hub and an economic engine that directly or indirectly accounts for more than one-third of all jobs in the six counties.
A resolution adopted by SCAG’s Regional Council called on local, state and federal partners to continue investing in a “safe, secure, clean and efficient multi-modal transportation system, including both highways and rail, to support the movement of goods across the region.”
The six-county SCAG region is home to one of the most dynamic supply chain networks in the world, whose role has intensified amid the surge in e-commerce since the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Among the major assets driving this critical industry are the South Bay Ports, among the largest container ports of entry in the world; Los Angeles International Airport and Ontario International Airport, two of busiest air freight hubs in North America; and a network of distribution and fulfillment centers that employ hundreds of thousands of workers across six counties.
At the same time, an increase in truck traffic has created some of the worst traffic bottlenecks in the country, while raising concerns about air quality and environmental justice.
“Addressing our regional challenges and supporting this essential industry is an urgent priority with long-term implications. The investments we make today will impact generations to come, and go a long way toward securing economic viability for our region, the health and well-being of our communities and quality of life of all of our residents,” said SCAG President Jan Harnik.
SCAG, the nation’s largest metropolitan planning organization, has long supported goods movement as an economic and employment driver across the six counties and 191 cities it represents. The agency’s most recent Connect SoCal Regional Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy identified more than $100 billion in transportation improvements to ensure the safe and efficient movement of goods across the region to and from points nationally and globally.
The resolution adopted Thursday comes the 2024 Connect SoCal plan is in development, and outlined a series of priorities, including:
- Leveraging and prioritizing investments that provide mutual co-benefits to both freight and passenger/commuter rail.
- Advocating for state and federal investment to catalyze the region’s roadmap to a zero-emissions future, including funding for workforce preparedness around the deployment of zero-emission vehicles and their supporting infrastructure.
- Completing SCAG’s regional blueprint and action plan to develop supporting infrastructure for medium and heavy duty zero-emission trucks, and advocating for funding to support investment in electric charging and fueling stations.
- Comprehensive systems-level planning of inland port concepts and corridor/supply chain operational strategies that include preparation for major events such as the 2026 FIFA World Cup and 2028 Summer Olympics.
“Our logistic industry is an economic driver not just for the SCAG region, but for the state, the nation and the world. At the same time, our region is often over-burdened by traffic congestion and air-quality issues directly connected to the 1.2 million daily truck trips on our roadway network. Addressing these challenges, while continuing to support this critical industry, will require more innovation and investment than ever,” said SCAG Executive Director Kome Ajise.