The $700 million public-private infrastructure project will create a freight transportation link between Mid-Atlantic ports and the Midwest. The project was announced at the Dublin, OH offices of Pacer International, a CSX customer. While an expanded intermodal yard in the Columbus area is part of the overall plan, the National Gateway will actually pass Ohio's capitol city. A second intermodal facility within Ohio would be built at Marion, OH. Estimates are that the two terminals would cost CSX $130 million. The State of Ohio is expected to contribute $190 million to the project.
CSX has committed $300 million to the National Gateway project and will work with state and federal governmental entities to create necessary double-stack clearance along the entire route. At present, many overpasses along the route can only handle single-stacked trains. The six states are Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia.
The three existing rail corridors to be upgraded are: The I-70/I-76 Corridor between Washington, D.C. and northwest Ohio; the I-95 Corridor between North Carolina and Baltimore via Washington, D.C.; and the Carolina Corridor between Wilmington and Charlotte, North Carolina.
The National Gateway is larger than the Heartland Corridor, a $150 million double-stack project that involves Norfolk Southern. A significant event for that project took place in March when the Columbus-based Rickenbacker Terminal opened. When completed in 2010, rail freight along the Heartland Corridor will move from Virginia Ports on to Columbus and from there to Chicago.
Michael J. Ward, CSX chairman, president and CEO, observed that both his railroad and Norfolk Southern see Central Ohio as a key area for logistics developments. “More and more the nation is becoming aware of the tremendous safety, economic and environmental benefits that railroads create,” he claims. “Our trains can move a ton of freight 423 miles on a single gallon of fuel, and one train can carry the load of more than 280 trucks. The National Gateway leverages those benefits to the fullest by combining the resources and expertise of the public and private sectors.”