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Opened in 2002 at the cost of $2.4 billion, the Alameda Corridor is a 20-mile freight rail line between the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and the intermodal rail yards near downtown Los Angeles. The focal point is a 10-mile long belowground section which eliminated 200 at grade railroad crossing that were severely constricting the cargo flow out of the ports. The new rail line cuts the time in half it takes to transport cargo containers between the ports and downtown Los Angeles. The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach comprise the largest U.S. port complex with more than 10 million 20-foot containers moving through annually.

Conceived of over 20 years ago, the corridor has not completely lived up to the planner’s expectations. It was designed to handle up to 100 train trips per day, with an expansion capability of 150, however today it averages only 35. Traffic congestion at the port has not been alleviated on the highways leading out of the port, as was expected. One of the problems is that the economics of the shipping industry have moved away from trains in the last 20 years, and have shifted from the warehousing of goods downtown to a more specialized system using trucks to separate cargo and divert it to large distribution hubs in Riverside and San Bernardino where it is organized for the more precise on-time delivery that companies now expect. An additional phase is now being considered to extend the corridor to the eastern industrial suburbs, and implement a “shuttle” train type system that could better accommodate the new logistical models.