Phase One of National Gateway project is completed
September 10, 2013 - LM Editorial
The first phase of the National Gateway has been officially completed, the National Gateway coalition said last week.
The National Gateway is a roughly $850 million public-private partnership (PPP) infrastructure initiative designed to provide a highly efficient freight transportation link between the Mid-Atlantic ports and the Midwest. It was first unveiled by Class I railroad carrier CSX in May 2008. This effort spans six states and Washington, D.C. and is comprised of both rail capacity and intermodal terminal capacity improvements.
With the first phase complete, the coalition said that now enables the ability for the National Gateway to provide double-stack intermodal rail service between CSX’ terminal in Chambersburg, Pa. and its state-of-the-art Northwest Ohio hub facility.
“Today, we celebrate the efforts of federal and state officials in achieving this milestone, which means more jobs, a more competitive America, and a more environmentally friendly way to move freight,” said Michael J. Ward, CSX chairman, president and chief executive officer, in a statement. “This is great news for our nation’s transportation infrastructure, our customers and the communities we serve, and wouldn’t be possible without the major investment of time and resources by our federal and state partners. While this is a significant milestone, our work is not done. Working with our public sector partners, we need to finish the job and complete double-stack clearances between Chambersburg and the Ports of Baltimore and Virginia.”
Phase Two of the National Gateway project will be dedicated to double-stack clearing the CSX corridor between Chambersburg, Pa. and mid-Atlantic ports, according to the coalition.
Other National Gateway developments introduced by CSX include:
-an August 2011 announcement that it has invested $59 million in an intermodal terminal expansion in Columbus, Ohio, which includes a redesign of the site footprint installation and realignment of tracks, reconfiguration of inbound and outbound truck gates, additional onsite parking, and three, high tech, rail-mounted, electric wide-span cranes, which will operate with zero emissions and regenerate power back to the terminal grid or to the electric utility;
-a May 2011 announcement that it will make a $160 million investment over the next several years to help complete the National Gateway project; and
- a February 2011 announcement that the National Gateway launched operations of its new Northeast Ohio Terminal. National Gateway officials said that the Northeast Ohio Terminal is the cornerstone of a new double-stack freight rail corridor between East Coast sea ports such as the Port of Baltimore and the Midwest, adding that it employs more than 200 full-time employees, and will serve as the transfer point for hundreds of thousands of freight containers annually.
CSX executives have stated that this effort will highlight the effectiveness of intermodal transportation, in terms of economic and efficiency gain, noting that “intermodal transportation combines the efficiency of rail with the flexibility of trucks …and as our nation faces combined pressures from an increasingly globalized economy and deteriorating transportation infrastructure, it is critical that we work together to bolster this pillar of our national economy.”
And industry analysts have told LM that the National Gateway continues the model to bring in a wide variety of constituents to support efforts to add infrastructure capacity, as well as highlight how intermodal cooperation is critical both now and in the future to boost freight movement in the National Gateway’s corridors.
The National Gateway coalition said that public funding for Phase One was supported by a federal TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grant secured by the State of Ohio on behalf of the coalition, and administered by the Eastern Federal Lands Highway Division of the Federal Highway Administration.
It added that as one of the nation’s largest transportation projects, over a 30 year period, the National Gateway will create more than 50,000 jobs and provide myriad benefits, including reduced fuel consumption, lower emissions, better safety, lower highway maintenance costs and reduced shipping costs.
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