California

Green Omni Terminal at Port of Los Angeles to Demonstrate Zero Emission Technologies

The Port of Los Angeles, in partnership with Pasha Stevedoring and Terminals L.P., is launching the Green Omni Terminal Demonstration Project, a full-scale, real-time demonstration of zero and near-zero emission technologies at a working marine terminal.

Green Omni Terminal at Port of Los Angeles

Green Omni Terminal at Port of Los Angeles (photo – portla.org)

Funded in part by a $14.5 million California Air Resources Board (CARB) grant for reducing greenhouse gases and other pollutants, this will be the world’s first marine terminal able to generate all of its energy needs from renewable sources.

The clean energy technologies being implemented on this project are expected to reduce more than 3,200 tons per year of greenhouse gases and nearly 28 tons annually of diesel particulate matter, nitrogen oxides and other harmful emissions – equivalent to taking 14,100 cars a day off the road in the South Coast Air Basin.

The highlight of the project is a 1.03 megawatt photovoltaic rooftop array and a 2.6 megawatt-hour battery storage system, along with bi-directional charging equipment that can receive as well as supply power, and an energy management control system.

In addition to integrating zero-emission vehicles and cargo-handling equipment, the project’s goals are to reduce emissions at berth from non-regulated ships, and accelerate the development of commercially viable zero and near-zero emission equipment and solutions.

Jeffrey Burgin, Senior Vice President of Pasha, said in a statement that “We’re going to be the proving ground to change the paradigm of how large industrial facilities can run on clean energy. We’re confident we can show this is absolutely attainable.”

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti likewise noted that “The Port of Los Angeles is leading the world toward a sustainable future, and today we’re raising the bar again.”

CARB Chair Mary D. Nichols added that “It is exciting to see a project with so many emerging zero or near-zero emission solutions for handling and moving freight.”

Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka focused on the how the project will impact the surrounding community. “The Green Omni Terminal Demonstration Project is a great example of moving forward to achieve greater emission reductions from port-related sources and improving air quality for those who live in the neighborhoods next to the port,” said Seroka.

The Green Omni Terminal is located adjacent to Wilmington, a community recognized by the state as disproportionately impacted by industrial pollution.

The total cost of the project is $26.6 million. The $14.5 million CARB grant accounts for more than 60 percent of the total available funding out of nearly $24 million in state grants available to reduce greenhouse gases and pollutants from facilities with multiple emissions sources. This program is part of the California Climate Investments, which use proceeds from the state’s cap-and-trade auctions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while providing a variety of additional benefits to California communities.

Sustainability is a key focus for the Port of Los Angeles, which facilitated $270 billion in trade last year, making it North America’s leading seaport by container volume and cargo value. Port operations and commerce have an outsize impact on Los Angeles economic development, facilitating more than 133,000 jobs (about one in 14) in the City of Los Angeles and 479,000 jobs (one in 18) in the five-county Southern California region.

New Amazon Fulfillment Centers in California and Illinois to Create 3500 Jobs

Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) today announced plans to open three new fulfillment centers, of which two will be in California and one in Illinois.

Amazon

Amazon (photo – Amazon.com, Inc.)

The two California fulfillment centers in Tracy and Eastvale, both approximately one million square feet in size, will create more than 1,500 new full-time jobs.

This increases Amazon’s California presence to nine fulfillment centers, nine million square feet of operations and approximately 14,000 full-time hourly associates.

Panorea Avdis, director of the California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz), said in a statement that “With tens of thousands of employees across the state, Amazon is a major driver of both state and local economies. We are thrilled that Amazon has decided to continue to expand its operations in California.”

Michael Maciel, Mayor of Tracy, highlighted the community development benefits that Amazon will bring, noting that beyond their obvious economic impact, Amazon has shown itself to be a truly great corporate neighbor. “From associates volunteering in the community to Amazon’s recent donation of STEM supplies to Central Elementary school, the company proves its commitment to our community every day,” said Mayor Maciel.

Ike Bootsma, Mayor of Eastvale, added that “We are very excited about the local employment opportunities the Amazon facility will create and we welcome Amazon to the City of Eastvale.”

Meanwhile, Amazon also announced plans to open its second fulfillment center in Joliet, IL. The project will create more than 2,000 full-time jobs at the new 700,000-square-foot facility, in addition to the 1,500 full-time employees currently working at its existing Joliet facility.

Akash Chauhan, Amazon’s vice president of North American operations, said in the release that “We have found an abundance of talent in Joliet and we are excited to bring a new fulfillment center to the city and create 2,000 great full-time jobs with benefits.”

Chauhan added that the community and elected officials throughout the city and state have been very supportive of Amazon, and thanked them for helping make this project possible.

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner said in a statement that “This expansion is a vote of confidence in the state’s new way of doing economic development in Illinois with the ILBEDC working alongside the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.”

ILBEDC is the newly formed Illinois Business and Economic Development Corporation, created to take over and more effectively fulfill many of the economic development functions of the IL Department of Commerce.

Joliet Mayor Bob O’Dekirk likewise noted that Amazon’s confidence in their community demonstrates that Joliet can attract the best employers in the e-commerce industry sector.

John Greuling, president and CEO of the Will County Center for Economic Development, added that “The new jobs this project will bring provide tremendous career opportunities for residents throughout the region.”

California Economic Development Groups Support Telecommunications Modernization Bill

Four rural California economic development and business groups have issued a letter publicly announcing their support for legislation that has been introduced to enable a telecommunications policy that will promote broader access to internet-based telecommunications services while helping the state meet its carbon reduction goals.

AB 2395 CA telecom modernization bill

Photo – ca.gov

The bill in question is AB 2395 (Telecommunications: replacement of public switched telephone network), introduced earlier this year by Assemblymember Evan Low, co-chairman of the California Technology and Innovation Caucus.

Since 1999, there has been an 85 percent decline in the number of California homes using traditional landlines. Less than one in ten residential voice lines are now on the traditional plain-old-telephone service (POTS) network.

What’s more, maintaining the state’s existing POTS network creates an estimated greenhouse gas equivalent of burning 100 million pounds of coal each year. The network uses three billion gallons of water annually and consumes power equivalent to running nearly 90,000 90-sera refrigerators 24 hours a day, all year round.

In a statement issued after introducing the legislation that provides a roadmap for the transition from the POTS network to advanced IP-based communications services no sooner than 2020, Low said that “California telecommunications law established in the 1950’s needs to be modernized so our state can continue to be the world’s innovation leader as well as the pioneer in addressing climate change.”

The four groups that have just announced their support for this bill are the Economic Development Corporations of Fresno and Kern Counties, the El Dorado Chamber of Commerce, and the Monterey County Business Council, which collectively represent nearly 2.5 million residents.

The group has sent a letter to Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, who chairs the CA Assembly Appropriations Committee.

They say in the letter that “The counties we represent use different strategies and programs to create success. However, we all agree that our rural communities need investment in broadband technologies. Today, access to technology is a necessary tool for communicating with each other and interacting with current and potential customers. That is why we are all supporting AB 2395: to increase access to modern technologies in rural areas in California.”

The letter ends with the note that “Rural business and economic development groups are proud to support AB 2395 because it will support economic growth and prosperity in rural communities.”

AB 2395 is scheduled to be heard in the Assembly Appropriations Committee on May 25.

Biotech Ecosystem Attracts Cerebain Headquarters Relocation to Costa Mesa, California

Cerebain Biotech (OTCQB: CBBT) has announced that it is relocating its corporate headquarters to a new location in Costa Mesa, CA.

Cerebain Biotech

Cerebain Biotech (photo – cerebain.com)

The California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) said in a statement that GO-Biz reached out to Cerebain to welcome them to California and offer its services as they complete the transition of their headquarters.

“Cerebain is relocating to California in order to tap into the world’s most innovative biotech ecosystem featuring highly skilled workers, a great environment for business and a broad array of partners at the local and state level,” said GO-Biz Director Panorea Avdis.

Eric Clemons, president and chief executive officer of Cerebain, likewise said in the company’s own release that “This move allows us to take advantage of Southern California’s strong talent pool and cost-effective environment to continue to build our novel, high-value medical device.”

The company’s decision to relocate from its existing corporate headquarters in Dallas, TX was driven by its plan to seek FDA approval for its medical device for the treatment of Alzheimer’s and Dementia. Cerebain Biotech is a development-stage medical device company focused on the creation and clinical development of a minimally invasive implantable device and a synthetic drug solution.

The Company has engaged the services of Hamilton Advisors of Great Falls, VA, to support business development goals that will help the company accelerate its research programs, with an emphasis on receiving FDA approval.

As for the location for their new headquarters, the company began its formal site selection review process in July last year, starting with a list of a number of potential locations. Costa Mesa was selected after a careful evaluation of its location in Southern California, the business ecosystem, talent, long-term costs, quality of life for employees, connections with the world and proximity to other important company assets.

Also in Costa Mesa’s favor was the fact that prior to assuming leadership of Cerebain, Eric Clemons served as president and chief operating officer for GTC Telecom Corp, a publicly traded Nevada Corporation that operated out of Costa Mesa.

California is home to 2,848 biotech companies – more than any other state in the U.S. These companies directly employ 281,000 people and generate $130 billion in revenue. Costa Mesa is furthermore the home of the GO-Biz sponsored Innovation Hub OCTANe which helps companies expand in the region, with a specific focus on growing biotech firms.

California Releases Draft of Sustainable Freight Action Plan

Leaders of several state agencies in California came together to release the Draft California Sustainable Freight Action Plan, a document that lays a foundation for modernizing California’s vast freight transportation system that connects 38 million residents and supports an economy with $2.2 trillion in annual gross domestic product.

California Sustainable Freight Action Plan

Photo – casustainablefreight.org

This Action Plan was developed in response to Governor Brown’s Executive Order B-32-15 issued last year, which calls for a single integrated action plan for California.

California’s freight system is the most extensive and interconnected freight system in the United States, connected by a network of over 11,000 miles of railroad track and Interstate and state highways.

The impact of this complex freight transportation system on California economic development can hardly be overstated. It is responsible for a full one-third of the State’s economy and jobs, with freight-dependent industries accounting for more than $740 billion in revenue and more than five million jobs.

However, freight transportation in California also generates a high portion of local pollution in parts of the state with poor air quality and an increasing contribution of greenhouse gas emissions. Emissions from ships, harbor craft, trucks, locomotives, cargo equipment, aircraft and other freight participants account for about half of toxic diesel particulate matter (PM 2.5), a full 45 percent of the emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) that form ozone and fine particulate matter in the atmosphere, and six percent of all greenhouse gas emissions in California.

The Governor’s EO therefore called upon the heads of the California State Transportation Agency, the California Environmental Protection Agency, and the Natural Resources Agency to work with the California Air Resources Board, the California Department of Transportation, the California Energy Commission, and the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) to develop an integrated action plan that establishes clear targets to “improve freight efficiency, transition to zero-emission technologies, and increase competitiveness of California’s freight system.”

Key components of the resultant Action Plan that has been developed collaboratively by these agencies include, among other things, improving freight system efficiency 25 percent by 2030; deployment of over 100,000 zero-emission vehicles and equipment and maximize near-zero by 2020; foster future economic growth within the freight and goods movement industry; and pilot projects to achieve concrete progress in the near-term.

Governor Brown’s senior jobs adviser Mike Rossi said in a statement that this is an unprecedented effort to partner with the freight sector to help bolster the competitiveness of California’s freight industry. “The freight sector has already invested heavily in modernization and the Action Plan helps advance those efforts while reducing emissions through commercially viable and affordable technologies,” said Rossi.

The Draft California Sustainable Freight Action Plan is available for public review and comments at www.casustainablefreight.org.

California Governor Brown Writes to Florida Governor Scott About Economic Development, Climate Change

Yet another attack by California in the lead up to Florida Governor Rick Scott’s domestic trade mission this month to the Golden State, this time in the form of an open letter published by California Governor Jerry Brown.

CA Gov. Brown writes to Gov. Scott

CA Gov. Brown writes to Gov. Scott (Photo – Go-Biz)

In the letter, Governor Brown not only attacks Florida economic development efforts to attract relocations and the jobs of companies located in California as a political stunt, but also calls on him to start focusing on climate change.

To be specific, Gov. Brown writes that “I’m writing to welcome you back to California – a state that in the last year has added more jobs than Florida and Texas combined….If you’re truly serious about Florida’s economic wellbeing, it’s time to stop the silly political stunts and start doing something about climate change – two words you won’t even let state officials say. The threat is real and so too will be the devastating impacts.”

To hammer home the point, Gov. Brown included a recent report authored by the Risky Business Project, a climate initiative led by Hank Paulson, Michael Bloomberg and Tom Steyer. The report titled “Come Heat and High Water: Climate Risk in the Southeastern U.S. and Texas,” notes that “By 2030, up to $69 billion in coastal property will likely be at risk of inundation at high tide that is not at risk today. By 2050, the value of property below local high tide levels will increase to up to about $152 billion.”

More to the point, it comes with a bold headline on the cover that says “Risky Business – The Bottom Line on Climate Change,” making the point about the dangers of companies relocating to coastal regions that are ignoring climate change.

This latest trip to California follows Governor Scott’s previous trip last year where he announced that Nestle USA would be shifting a majority of their U.S. to Puerto Rico shipments from the Port of New York and New Jersey to JAXPORT.

Governor Scott said in a statement announcing this new trip to California that “I look forward to leading another domestic trade mission to California next month and meeting with more companies to share how we are making Florida first for jobs. I also encourage Governor Brown to join me at the Milken Institute’s Global Conference so he can hear firsthand how we are making Florida the number one place in the world for businesses and families to succeed.”

During the trade mission, Governor Scott will attend the Milken Institute’s Global Conference 2016 to discuss how Florida is making it easier for families and job creators to succeed and why businesses in California should consider moving their operations to Florida.

Sacramento Economic Development Group Touts Flippbox Relocation

The Greater Sacramento Area Economic Council announced that Flippbox, a Silicon Valley startup which had previously relocated from the Bay Area to Tampa, is now relocating is headquarters back to the west coast with a new location in Sacramento, CA.

Greater Sacramento, CA

Photo – greater-sacramento.com

The announcement by the newly formed Sacramento economic development group has been timed to coincide with the lead-up to Gov. Rick Scott’s trade mission to California in May.

During the trade mission, Governor Scott will attend the Milken Institute’s Global Conference, and will also meet with California businesses to share why Florida is the best state for their companies to grow.

“Our goal is to create the California to Florida jobs pipeline. As Governor Brown works diligently to drive businesses away from California, Florida can partner in providing locations for job creators who are looking to grow jobs and opportunities for families,” said Gov. Scott in a statement announcing the domestic trade mission to California.

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson likewise responded in the Flippbox relocation announcement that “For all the gimmicks that other states employ, California and Sacramento in particular provide real opportunities for business success. The word is getting out because businesses are returning to California.”

The Greater Sacramento Area Economic Council furthermore noted in its release that “Florida has long focused its recruiting efforts on California companies, however, businesses succeed in California at a higher rate. California is recognized as the clear leader for both innovation and profitability, important considerations for any tech company.”

Flippbox’s Hucks added that “It is difficult to replicate the caliber of talent, the infrastructure, or the lifestyle that California provides.”

Flippbox will be located within an area of Sacramento’s Midtown “Innovation Zone.” The company is investing around $4.5 million to acquire and restore the historic Eastern Star Building that dates back to 1928 as their headquarters.

Flippbox is part of the portfolio of tech investment firm Silicon Bay Partners. Flippbox Founder and CEO Randy Hucks is also one of the managing partners of Silicon Bay Partners, which itself announced a relocation of its corporate headquarters to Sacramento in Sept 2015. At that time, the company had said that its new Midtown Sacramento location would also accommodate Flippbox.

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson had also announced the arrival of Flippbox and AnPac Bio-Medical Co. and their job creation plans in Sacramento in his State of the City address earlier this year.

LAX Economic Impact Analysis Report – 620,610 Jobs and $126.6B Output

Yet another economic impact analysis report released by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation, this time about the major role Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) has as a giant economic engine for Southern California.

LAX economic impact analysis report

LAX economic impact analysis report (photo – laedc.org)

The report, prepared by the LAEDC Institute for Applied Economics, was commissioned by Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), and quantifies the total economic impact in the six-county Southern California region of LAX and activities related to airport services, as well as of its capital improvement program.

The report is based on data from LAX’s 2014 operations, when the airport carried 70.7 million passengers on more than 578,000 domestic and international flights, and moved two million tons of mail and cargo. This activity generated operating revenue of $961.7 million and resulted in the employment of 3,500 workers with salaries and benefits of $356.7 million.

But the impact of LAX on Southern California economic development goes way beyond this. Highlights from the LAX impact study:

– 620,610 jobs in Southern California;

– $37.3 billion in labor income;

– $126.6 billion in business revenues (output); and

– $6.2 billion in state and local taxes, and $8.7 billion in federal tax revenues.

The ongoing LAX Modernization Program supports another 121,640 annual jobs with labor income of $7.6 billion, plus $20.3 billion in business revenues (output), another $966 million in state and local taxes, and $1.6 billion in federal tax revenues.

This is based on the economic impacts of $10.1 billion in spending for capital-improvement projects. Over a 15-year period starting in 2008, Los Angeles World Airports will have spent more than $14 billion to re-imagine, renovate and rebuild LAX.

Arriving visitors spent $9.7 billion and supported 155,640 jobs at the region’s many hotels, restaurants, theme parks and entertainment centers, and retail outlets. More than $45.6 billion of goods shipped through LAX to international destinations were produced by regional manufacturers, whose employees and suppliers benefited from these sales. All told, international exports supported 322,000 jobs.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement that this LAEDC report confirms that “this generational investment in our airport is paying off with hundreds of thousands of jobs for Angelenos and billions added to our local economy.”

City Councilmember Bob Blumenfield, chair of the Council’s Innovation, Grants, Technology, Commerce, and Trade Committee, which oversees the airport, added that “LAX is our gateway to the Pacific and the world, and it’s the entryway for good jobs and economic vitality throughout Southern California.”

Sean Burton, president of the Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners, which also oversees LAWA, noted that “The LAX Modernization Program is creating an estimated 121,640 annual jobs and generating $7.58 billion in worker wages, making it one of the City’s largest public-works programs in Los Angeles history.”

LAWA CEO Deborah Flint likewise said that “The projects underway at LAX, and those being planned, are also of a size and duration that will create new jobs and provide opportunity for meaningful participation of small, local and diverse businesses.”

See the full LAX economic impact analysis report (pdf)

LAEDC Study on Economic Impact of LA Metro’s Measure R Projects – $80.7B and 426,980 Jobs

The Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp has published a study on the economic impact of LA Metro’s Measure R construction projects.

LA Metro Measure R impact report

LA Metro Measure R impact report (photo – laedc.org)

Measure R is a voter-approved half-cent sales tax that is providing the funding for construction projects being undertaken by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro).

The overall budget for these projects, broadly categorized as highway and freeway projects, is $51.1 billion over 30 years. The LAEDC study projects that the initiative and spending will contribute 426,980 part-time and full-time jobs, along with $80.7 billion in economic output and $27.1 billion in labor income, across LA Metro’s five-county Southern California region over the 30-year life of the tax measure.

Total (direct, indirect and induced) economic output associated with highway and freeway projects is estimated to be $51.4 billion. The study factors out right-of-way acquisition costs and vehicle purchase costs (expected to go to sellers outside the five-county study region), still leaving $46.6 billion in budgeted spending.

Over the 30-year period, the total number of jobs related to Measure R highway and freeway projects will be 253,100, and these jobs will generate $16.3 billion in compensation.

Transit projects, including the construction of light and heavy rail lines, subway extensions, and the construction of bus rapid transit lines, will generate $29.3 billion in total (direct, indirect and induced) output for the Southern California regional economy over the course of 30 years. Work on these projects will create 173,880 total jobs with over $10.8 billion in compensation.

A massive part of this impact will occur in the construction industry, which will get almost half of the total output earned by firms in the industry and about 45 percent of the jobs generated. Other industries that will feel a significant impact include retail trade, health care and social assistance, professional and scientific services, and accommodations and food services.

The tax revenue generated by Measure R will likewise be on a massive scale. All told, the study projects tax revenues totaling almost $9.3 billion being collected in relation to these transportation construction projects. Approximately $5.8 billion (63 percent) of this will be taxes at the federal level, while the remaining $3.4 billion (37 percent) will go to state and local governments.

Within this, the jobs created by Measure R will generate $2.2 billion in federal income taxes, another $936 million in state income taxes, and $1.1 billion in sales taxes in California.

The updated economic impact study of the Measure R construction projects was commissioned by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and prepared by the Institute for Applied Economics of the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp.

California Considers $70.5M Economic Development Tax Credits For 103 Businesses

At its next meeting later this month, the California Competes Tax Credit Committee will consider approving tax credit agreements with 103 businesses seeking a total of $70,539,413 in tax credits.

CA Competes Tax Credit

CA Competes Tax Credit (photo – business.ca.gov)

These CA Competes Tax credit agreements, available to companies that are expanding and adding jobs in the state, are negotiated by the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) and approved by the statutorily created “California Competes Tax Credit Committee.”

Since 2014, GO-Biz has awarded $223 million through this California economic development incentive program to 330 companies that are projected to create over 42,000 jobs and $9.6 billion in investments.

In this latest round, the three largest tax credit awards are for expansion projects by electric car maker Faraday Future and mobile app developer Snapchat, and a large warehouse project by Nordstrom.

Los Angeles-based Faraday Future, which recently announced the selection of a site in North Las Vegas, NV for its automobile manufacturing facility, is proposing an expansion of several facilities in California. Specifically, the company is planning to invest $311,117,460 for expansions at various locations throughout California, including Gardena, Rancho Dominguez, and San Jose. The expansion will result in the net addition of 1,990 full-time Faraday Future employees in the state, adding to its existing 236 employees.

To support these expansions, the State will enter into an agreement with FF to provide $12,725,000 in tax credits through CA Competes. The company will only be able to claim the credit based on performance, starting with a $2 million allocation for tax year 2019 and the balance of $10,725,000 in tax year 2020.

The second largest tax credit award in this round will go to Nordstrom, Inc., which is considering locating a fulfillment warehouse and retail distribution facility in California. This is a $171 million investment project that will result in the creation of 367 net new full-time jobs.

Nordstrom is considering competing proposals from Fresno and Visalia, both of which are offering the retailer over $20 million in local economic development incentives in return for an investment of up to $200 million and the creation of up to 1,875 jobs. The local incentives will be in addition to the $11 million state tax credit allocation that Nordstrom is expected to get.

The third largest tax credit award of $5 million will go to mobile app developer Snapchat, Inc. for a $32 million investment project in Venice Beach, CA. This project is expected to result in the creation of 1,194 net new full-time jobs.

See the full list of 103 businesses and their tax credit agreements being considered for approval by the CA Competes Tax Credit Committee.

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