Study bolsters Crows Landing developerÆs benefit claims
A proposed short-haul rail line project connecting the Central Valley's Crows Landing development and the Port of Oakland would generate thousands of jobs and contribute billions of dollars to the local economy, according to a study prepared for the project developer.
Commissioned by developer PCCP West Park LLC and reviewed by a local government consultant, the study also found the project would require several years of initial public service subsidization.
Presented to the Stanislaus County steering committee overseeing the development on Monday, the study concluded that despite the initial subsidization the rail project is economically viable and will not negatively impact the county's general fund.
County Supervisor Jim DeMartini, chair of the steering committee, admitted that PCCP had delivered a 'pile of information,' but remained unconvinced of the study conclusions.
'I question the validity of it,' DeMartini told the Modesto Bee, 'and the impacts on the area.'
Local residents have been vocal critics of the development plan, claiming it would increase traffic and pollution in the area.
The $52 million rail plan, a key component in PCCP's plan to remake the Crows Landing Naval Air Station into a 4,800-acre rail and industrial complex, seeks to upgrade existing trackage along an 80-mile route between Crows Landing and the Port of Oakland.
The rail component is part of the complex's first phase of construction and to be completed in 2011. The rail plan calls for several 50-car trains loaded with freight containers to move each day via the proposed route between the Oakland port and the project site in Northern San Joaquin Valley. Once the containers reach the Crows Landing complex, the containers would be loaded onto trucks for distribution throughout the Central Valley. According to PCCP, Central Valley agricultural products and other regional products could be returned via the same rail line to the port for export.
The Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors is expected to decide whether the plan will move forward when it meets on April 22.