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LOS ANGELES – Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa today marked the completion of the Port of Los Angeles’ Main Channel Deepening Project, a major milestone in Los Angeles’ ongoing efforts to ensure the Port’s global competitiveness, continued growth, and job creation. The project is part of a five-year, $1.3 billion Capital Improvement Program supporting 20,000 jobs.
“The Port of Los Angeles is a critical economic engine to the Los Angeles region,” said Mayor Villaraigosa. “Completion of this project means the Port will remain competitive globally and continue to be a strong source for jobs and regional revenue growth for years to come.”
Villaraigosa has made sustainable growth at the Port a top priority. Before taking office in 2005, Port development projects had been at a standstill for seven years. By striking a balance between continued cargo capacity, environmental protection, and community involvement, Villaraigosa laid a foundation for long-term competitiveness at the Port. The Port has since approved seven substantial development Environmental Impact Reports (EIRs) and dramatically decreased harmful air emissions: sulfur oxides by 76 percent, diesel particulates by 69 percent, and nitrogen oxides by 51 percent.
“Our nation’s ports are the backbone of our country’s economy,” said Congresswoman Janice Hahn. “Now that this dredging project is complete, America’s Port® will have the ability to accept the new, larger cargo vessels. Our increased competiveness will strengthen our regional and national economies — resulting in job creation in my district and across the country.”
The Port’s container terminal tenants rely on the Port’s deep channels to move cargo. Container terminals generate about 74 percent of Port revenues and help facilitate hundreds of thousands of direct and indirect jobs throughout Southern California. More than 43,000 direct jobs are connected to marine terminal operators at the Port.
“I commend the Port of Los Angeles for its vision and diligence in completing this monumental channel deepening project,” said Councilman Joe Buscaino. “This critical infrastructure investment will ensure the Port remains number one in the nation, and protect thousands of good-paying local jobs for years to come."
The project involved deepening of the Port’s 45-foot deep Main Channel, West Basin Channel and East Basin Channel to a 53-foot depth. During the course of the multi-year effort, the Army Corps of Engineers generated and relocated 15 million cubic yards of dredge materials – nearly twice the amount of earth moved to create Dodger Stadium – to various sites throughout the Port. Some of that material was used to construct the 104-acre acre Cabrillo Shallow Water Habitat, providing a replacement habitat and feeding area for fish and marine birds in the outer harbor.
“Completion of the Main Channel Deepening Project has been our single-most, important infrastructure project,” said Port Executive Director Geraldine Knatz, Ph.D. “We’re grateful for the work of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and everyone on the Port team who helped bring this critical infrastructure priority to fruition.”
Los Angeles is America’s premier port and has a strong commitment to developing innovative strategic and sustainable operations that benefit the economy as well as the quality of life for the region and the nation it serves. As the leading seaport in North America in terms of shipping container volume and cargo value, the Port generates more than 830,000 regional jobs and $35 billion in annual wages and tax revenues.