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Public benefits should offset public costs

July 7, 2022 / By Daniel Flaming

A photo-journalist named David Bacon asked a key question for his article in Capital & Main, “Should L.A. and Long Beach Get a New Deal From Their Powerhouse Ports?” The question was, What are the costs of running the ports that the shippers are not paying for, and that the public does?

My answer was that the picture to keep in mind is of congested freeways and big trucks. The biggest costs are from accidents, and from uncompensated road wear that the fuel taxes and the license fees don’t cover. There are costs to residences from noise. There are health costs from the emissions that in the immediate port area create a higher risk of cancer. And there are also global costs from greenhouse gases and from climate change.