U.S. freight shipments are projected to increase by 62 percent between 2011 and 2040, meaning that an additional 10 billion tons of goods will move on our highways and roads, and through warehouses and distribution centers. Those freight shipments will increasingly be between ports and U.S. cities, as trade with northeast Asia more than triples.
If current trends hold, decreasing percentages of imports will be shipped directly to their destination city. Instead, more and more will be shipped by rail from the ocean ports to massive centralized intermodal facilities, where they will be transferred to trucks for the final leg of up to 500 miles.
This move to an intermodal hub and spoke system is bad news for communities near goods movement facilities and major highways. While air pollution controls have reduced air pollution for the majority of the populace, over 12 million people live close enough to freight facilities and highways and the health risks that come with exposure to diesel exhaust.
Nowhere is this problem more evident than in Moreno Valley, California, an inland city of around 200,000 people and huge numbers of warehouses. Unfortunately, things just got worse for residents, with the approval yesterday of the World Logistics Center – a complex of warehouses the size of almost 700 football fields.
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