Mayor Villaraigosa Applauds Port’s First Stimulus Grant, Urges Additional Federal Funding for Nation’s Premier Trade Gateway

SAN PEDRO, Calif. — March 8, 2010 — Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, joined by federal, state, city and Port of Los Angeles officials, broke ground Monday on a $22 million Federal stimulus grant project for the construction of roadway improvements along a 1.3-mile segment of Harry Bridges Boulevard in Wilmington. The Port of Los Angeles project is federally funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 and is expected to create more than 250 local construction jobs.

This is the first grant awarded to the Port of Los Angeles through ARRA and the largest grant awarded to any “shovel-ready” project in Los Angeles and Ventura counties from the $27.5 billion transportation stimulus fund that provided $340 million by formula to L.A. and Ventura counties.

Joining Mayor Villaraigosa along Harry Bridges Boulevard Monday for the groundbreaking ceremony were Congresswoman Jane Harman (D-Venice), Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn, Harbor Commission President Cindy Miscikowski and Port Executive Director Geraldine Knatz, Ph.D.

The street improvements along Harry Bridges Boulevard, from Lakme Avenue to Figueroa Street, will include grading, utility relocations, construction of concrete walks, gutters, driveways, traffic signals, fire hydrants, street lighting storm drainage, signage, landscaping, irrigation and fiber optic infrastructure. Construction is expected to be complete in January 2012.  The contractor for the project is Sialic Contractors Corporation (dba Shawnan) of Downey, Calif.

Harry Bridges Boulevard, part of the National Highway System, connects John S. Gibson Boulevard with Alameda Street, and is the main truck route from San Pedro and Wilmington to State Route 47. Although the project will widen Harry Bridges Boulevard, the street will remain a two-lane highway in each direction with the capacity to increase to three lanes in each direction to accommodate future traffic demand.

Comments From Public Officials on Harry Bridges Groundbreaking

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
“I commend the Obama Administration for investing in this critical gateway and bringing much-needed jobs to the community around the Port of Los Angeles. This project will improve public safety and keep America’s freight moving. The City of Los Angeles is grateful for this federal funding to keep one of America's busiest gateways safe and we look forward to additional stimulus funds being granted to our city.”

Congresswoman Jane Harman (D-Venice)
“This road rebuilding project was funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act – the stimulus package – which I supported. This project is vital not just for creating local jobs – 250 of them – it is rebuilding the road that connects the Port of Los Angeles to the world. Just as important, it is connecting the community of Wilmington with the waterfront.”

15th District Los Angeles Councilwoman Janice Hahn
 “I am proud to see Wilmington receive the year’s largest federal stimulus award in all of Los Angeles County. I hope this is just the beginning of the federal money we will be granted to create good jobs and improve our Port communities.”

Harbor Commission President Cindy Miscikowski
“Many elected officials and federal, state and local agencies worked together under tight deadlines to bring this $22 million stimulus grant to fruition. This is the kind of teamwork and commitment we must continue to have as we move forward to secure more federal dollars for Port infrastructure projects.”

Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Geraldine Knatz, Ph.D.
 “We are happy to be adding this project to a queue of major construction initiatives currently underway at the Port. Our four major current construction projects alone are helping to generate more than 8,400 one-year equivalent construction jobs and ultimately, more than 19,000 permanent jobs.”