As the 2021-22 state budget was being finalized in June of last year, a $279.5 million appropriation was quietly inserted into the massive spending plan before it was sent to Gov. Gavin Newsom.
“Funds appropriated in this item shall be for the Port of Oakland for improvements that facilitate enhanced freight and passenger access and to promote the efficient and safe movement of goods and people,” the budget declared.
Seemingly, the Legislature was responding to numerous pleas from the shipping industry for upgrades to maintain the port’s viability in the face of intense competition for international trade.
However, when the port commission recently approved a list of specific projects the money would finance, its long-suspected true purpose became clear. The money would not be spent to improve cargo-handling, but rather to subsidize development of a new stadium for the Oakland A’s baseball team on a disused container site known as Howard Terminal near Jack London Square.