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The state of California and U.S. Department of Transportation announced a plan to “identify” billions in funding for upgrades to the supply chain infrastructure at California ports.

The loans would come courtesy of U.S. Department of Transportation credit finance programs, as well as state and public-private financing.

The state said the loaned money could go toward multiple areas of the California supply chain, including port upgrades, increasing capacity for freight rails, developing more port facilities for expanded warehouse storage, going electric for railyards and trucks and upgrading highways in an attempt to enhance truck travel times.

“Our supply chains are being put to the test, with unprecedented consumer demand and pandemic-driven disruptions combining with the results of decades-long underinvestment in our infrastructure,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said on Thursday. “That’s why this administration is working around the clock to address both near-term and long-term challenges to our supply chains, including investments such as those in the bipartisan infrastructure deal. Today’s announcement marks an innovative partnership with California that will help modernize our infrastructure, confront climate change, speed the movement of goods and grow our economy.”

The state and federal partnership follows an executive order signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Oct. 20 to “develop longer-term solutions” to the supply chain issues California has faced.

“California’s ports and infrastructure system is key to the country’s supply chain,” Newsom said. “Thanks to our collaboration with the Biden-Harris Administration, this innovative federal-state partnership will help us fast-track those projects that will make our ports and infrastructure even more efficient. This partnership will help us jump-start and support multiple infrastructure projects to improve our supply chain, making sure goods get to where they need to go faster, cheaper, and in a more environmentally-friendly manner.”

The White House also announced a plan to help the supply chain backlogs in the nearer-term, allowing for the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to run 24 hours a day through the holidays.

Within the plan, major retailers and supply chain management companies such as Walmart, UPS, FedEx, Samsung, Home Depot and Target have agreed to move goods on off-hours. The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) also said its members were willing to work the extra shifts needed to operate at a 24/7 capacity, a move that the White House called “an important first step.”

 

LA Weekly