Multiply twenty tons by the approximately two million people in our region and you get a rough idea of how much freight is being moved by truck, train, ship and plane every year here. If that seems like a lot, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics advises us that freight tonnage is expected to increase nearly 70% by 2020. This fact has not escaped the attention of the State of California, as Governor Schwarzenegger has initiated a Goods Movement Action Plan to help prepare for this future. Like the State, SACOG has also started several initiatives to ensure that our region can keep up with the growth in freight transportation.
SACOG’s Freight Advisory Council was brought back in January 2006 as the Goods Movement Advisory Group. This group consists of stakeholders throughout the region who have an interest in keeping the goods moving. The GMAG serves as a steering committee to provide input on SACOG’s goods movement activities, but it also serves as a regional forum for the discussion of goods movement issues. The GMAG has hosted presentations on goods movement from the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District, the Sacramento County Airport System, the Port of Sacramento, the Port of Stockton, the Union Pacific Railroad and the Sierra Northern Railroad, and several trucking companies.
In conjunction with our 2007 Metropolitan Transportation Plan (MTP) update, SACOG is undertaking its first ever Regional Goods Movement Study to help better integrate freight into our planning process and to ensure that goods will still be on the move throughout the region in the years ahead. Phase 1 of what will be a 3 phase study of goods movement in the region has now been completed. A consultant team headed by the Tioga Group and assisted by Meyer Mohaddes, Inc., Economic and Planning Systems and local international trade advisor Jock O’Connell has assembled a report that helps to explain how goods are moving in our region right now. During the summer of 2006, work will begin on phase 2, which will be an effort to create several scenarios for how the region will deal with goods movement over the next 20 years and address the issues that came out of phase 1. These scenarios will then be further analyzed and modeled to help lead to the selection of a preferred alternative. In phase 3 of the study, the preferred alternative will be more fully detailed and analyzed, and a comprehensive, prioritized set of policies and capital improvement projects necessary to accomplish this alternative will be identified. In 2007, staff will integrate the outputs from this study into the goods movement element of the MTP and subsequently into a Regional Goods Movement Action Plan.