GLOBAL SHIFT IN CONTAINER TRAFFIC AND ITS IMPLICATIONS FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ALONG THE AMERICAN LAND BRIDGE
Since the “container revolution” in the 1970s, seaports on the Pacific Coast have been the engines of economic development, regionally, nationally and globally. But circumstances continue to change that threaten the long-term viability of the intermodal “land bridge” system that emerged from that revolution. These circumstances include railroads not maintaining rail lines critical to transcontinental container traffic and the shift in the locus of global production that raises the question of obsolescence for the existing infrastructure moving trade West to East from the Pacific Rim. The implications are enormous, especially for policy makers at the regional and local levels as they contemplate the potential gain and loss of economic development momentum in the inter-regional competition for growth and prestige. This research note discusses public developmental policy as both the core of the problem and a potential source for adjusting to the global dynamics of intermodal transportation.