Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Don't drive out logistics jobs in Moreno Valley with the pollution and sprawl

Don't throw out the baby with the bathwater

Could the City of Moreno Valley, let alone the Inland Empire as a whole, use thousands of additional blue-collar marketplace jobs in the logistics sector? With far more workers than jobs residing in Riverside County, the news of private investors proposing to build logistics hubs in Moreno Valley seems highly welcoming on the surface. Two major projects for example--the World Logistics Center and March Business Center--promise to provide Moreno Valley with billions in construction investments, thousands of permanent logistics and truck jobs, and millions in commerce for supporting Moreno Valley businesses. The Inland Empire could use this kind of private investment.

However, environmentalists are questioning Moreno Valley's proposed logistics centers and filing CEQA lawsuits on a project-by-project basis. Several of the CEQA claims are legit and must be addressed if Moreno Valley is to have robust and clean distribution center sites. For example, the World Logistics Center master plan covers a sprawling 3,918 acres in eastern Moreno Valley over undeveloped property at the base of the Badlands hills; there is no freight rail line for miles. Diesel trucks meanwhile remain a major contributor toward pollution. Unlike the Perris Valley Line lawsuit where it was NIMBY-led, these cases are being led by the Sierra Club, and whenever this giant environmental organization gets involved, there's bound to be legit environmental concerns that need to be fixed.

The Transit Coalition will continue to examine these projects. The region would certainly benefit with a robust, environmentally friendly logistics job center to cut down on long distance commuting and truck trips to/from other major hubs in Ontario, San Diego and Long Beach. As the two sides continue their debates, they must avoid driving out logistics jobs from the Inland Empire while trying to control bad diesel pollution, traffic congestion and runaway urban sprawl. The parties must be careful not to throw out the baby with the bathwater.

3 comments:

  1. Could the City of Moreno Valley, let alone the Inland Empire as a whole, use thousands of additional blue-collar marketplace jobs in the logistics sector. palletline courier

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  2. I appreciate this balanced analysis. However, I am one to side with the Sierra Club. The potential pollution involved with approximately 29,000 diesel trucks coming and going per day is horrendous! Not to mention the traffic jam on the three lane 60 freeway (once it is complete).
    Why not bring in some light rail trains to do the same job?

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    Replies
    1. EntreNos, Thanks for the valid points. The 29,000 trucks-per-day figure you mentioned points specifically to the World Logistics Center project, which we believe is urban sprawl and should be opposed until its issues are addressed in public. We still don't have straight answers on how pollution and traffic congestion are going to be regulated. Proponents mention that there are upgrades that *should* be done, but the developer is not being held accountable. Hence, the bathwater. The Moreno Valley City Council also appears to be pandering to the developer and stonewalling valid criticism by concerned citizens. That weakens the WLC case.

      To answer your other question, there is a logistics growth project taking place in Long Beach that we actively support dubbed the GRID that will transport freight by rail from the ports to robust logistics jobs hubs in the Inland Empire located near existing freight rail lines and airports. That's how we can protect the job growth that economists like John Husing supports without the sprawl. That's how we draw "Don't throw out the baby with the bathwater." We're also exploring various proposals such as corridor-based Metrolink rail service along the Perris Valley Line More from early morning to late night, BRT and improved amenities for private carpools to better transport the workforce. More info:

      http://www.thetransitcoalition.us/a_better_inland_empire/proj_wlc.html
      http://www.thetransitcoalition.us/a_better_inland_empire/proj_metrolinkmax.html

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