SJCOG, Port of Stockton, Sharpe Army Depot could play big role in plan
The San Joaquin Council of Governments (SJCOG) Board of Directors passed a resolution at its Dec. 8 meeting officially backing a plan to create an intermodal network throughout San Joaquin Valley intended to ease the supply chain crisis.
SJCOG, Port of Stockton and the Sharpe Army Depot site in Lathrop could play significant roles in the California Inland Port (CAIP) that could create 100,000 jobs, stimulate $30 billion in private investments up and down the valley, and improve air quality.
“The Sharpe Army Depot is scheduled to be reconveyed to the Port of Stockton and SJCOG staff has been working with port staff to position the site in Lathrop as a potential CAIP intermodal hub,” said SJCOG Executive Director Diane Nguyen. “Location has superior access to rail and highway, and is centrally located in the Northern California Megaregion, making it a leading option for an intermodal hub. This would be good for San Joaquin County. It would be good for the San Joaquin Valley. And it would be good for the state.”
Port of Stockton Commissioner William “Bill” Trezza sits on the SJCOG Board as an ex officio member.
“I think there’s a good possibility,” Trezza said. “If it happens and we get the Sharpe (Army Depot) project approved, we can easily rail goods from Oakland. That would do a lot for the East Bay roads and the air quality, as well. … It’s got a lot of support in California. It’s got a lot of support in Washington. And it’s being replicated all over the country.”
The Fresno Council of Governments (FCOG) will be applying to the state’s Port and Freight Infrastructure Program for CAIP funding on behalf of the San Joaquin Valley. FCOG Deputy Director Robert Phipps spoke to the SJCOG Board via teleconference requesting support for filing a grant for up to $65 million.
“With about 1.1 million ocean containers that move through the valley per year — roughly half of those representing imports and the other half exports — the San Joaquin Valley is uniquely positioned for a trade corridor of this type,” Phipps told board members. “If we can put this together, it would be a nationally and globally significant model for the rest of the world because of its green energy component.”
Electric and later hydrogen-powered vehicles would be used for drop-offs and pickups in the network, said Phipps, with other potential benefits, including significant economic development, a more efficient supply chain system, and substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and criteria pollutants.
The CAIP was originally proposed by the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. FCOG and its consultants in 2020 developed a California Inland Port Feasibility Study that proposed an intrastate network of logistics hubs stretching from Bakersfield to Sacramento.
The goods movement network would include two intermodal sites, two truck-only sites, and six to eight supporting satellite sites. While the sites won’t be determined until next year, the CAIP has the potential of creating 100,000 jobs and leveraging $30 billion in private investment along the 425-mile corridor through the San Joaquin Valley to the Sacramento region, according to the resolution passed.
The California State Transportation Agency recently released guidelines and a call for projects for funding under the state Port and Freight Infrastructure Program, which includes $1.2 billion in one-time funding to address the supply chain crisis suffered by California ports and the rest of the goods movement network. The Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach would receive $840 million, or 70 percent, of the total funding with the remaining $360 million going to high priority projects — including inland ports — to shore up goods movement throughout the state.
The San Joaquin Valley Regional Planning Agencies Policy Council, with representation from eight regional planning agencies throughout the San Joaquin Valley including SJCOG Boardmembers Dan Wright and Chuck Winn, in early November passed a resolution of support for the CAIP. The Policy Council is also funding the application to the state Port and Freight Infrastructure Program. It is seeking similar resolutions of support from its members — SJCOG, FCOG, Stanislaus Council of Governments, Merced County Association of Governments, Kern Council of Governments, Kings County Association of Governments, Madera County Transportation Commission, and Tulare County Association of Governments.