BNSF Railway Co. released a draft environmental impact report on its proposed Southern California International Gateway (SCIG) for public review and comment.

The SCIG project is designed to be the “greenest intermodal facility in the United States,” according to BNSF. The facility will allow containers to be loaded onto rail just 4 mi. from the docks, rather than traveling 24 mi. on local roads and the 710 freeway to downtown rail facilities.

“SCIG will allow 1.5 million more containers to move by more efficient and environmentally preferred rail through the Alameda Corridor each year, greatly reducing truck traffic congestion in Southern California,” according Matthew K. Rose, chairman & CEO of BNSF. He estimates that the facility will remove more than 1.5 million truck trips from the 710 freeway every year.

BNSF has committed to initially allow only trucks meeting the Port’s Clean Air Action Plan (CAAP) goal of 2007 or newer trucks to transport cargo between the marine terminals and the facility. Ultimately, by 2026, 90% of the truck fleet will be LNG or equivalent emissions vehicles. Trucks will be required to avoid residential areas by traveling on designated, industrial routes with GPS tracking to ensure adherence.

“The release of this report is a significant moment for green growth in Los Angeles,” said Rose. “Railroads are the most environmentally-friendly mode of surface transportation. We have worked closely with the mayor and other elected officials, staff and stakeholders to develop a $500-million facility that will be an important contributor to the rail system, the port and the regional economy, while at the same time benefitting our community and the environment. We believe that this facility proves that green and growth can go together as the mayor and the ports have long promised.”