California – A $49.6 grant from the California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) will soon help Merced County build an on-site inland port and further develop its rail district. The funding comes from a $1.2 billion state plan to improve freight infrastructure, support goods movement, reduce pollution and relieve seaport congestion.
The grant will be used to develop 70 acres near Castle to offer pre-shipment processing, cross-docking of goods and setup for direct rail for shippers, county officials said.
Just over $30 million will be used to develop the 70 acres. Another $18.3 million will be used to expand the areas supporting rail freight and air cargo. The last $1.1 million is set for evaluation, engineering and planning for future expansion.
Pre-construction activities are expected to begin at any time. Construction of the transload area and rail lines is expected in 2024. Underground infrastructure, asphalt and a shovel-ready rail park are also planned for 2024.
Completion of phase one should be in 2028, according to county officials. The project is expected to bring additional jobs, cleaner air from the reduction of roadway emissions and a greater partnership with the Port of Los Angeles.