The U.S. Department of Transportation and the Ohio Rail Development Commission have reached an agreement releasing $98 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to the National Gateway project. Work can now begin on improvements that will allow double-stacked trains to move freely from northwest Ohio through Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Maryland. Construction will begin on this key corridor of the National Gateway in the first quarter of 2011.
“This Recovery Act money will help move goods more efficiently among the four states and strengthen the economy up and down the east coast,” says DOT Secretary Ray LaHood. “Moving more goods by rail means less congestion on our highways and reduced fuel emissions.”
The National Gateway Initiative will allow trains to carry double-stacked containers, which it is hoped will increase freight capacity and make the corridors a cost-effective option for major ports and shippers. This new project is also expected to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fuel usage, shorten transport times and expand access to rail services.
Stretching from northwest Ohio to Chambersburg, Pa., this National Gateway corridor is one of several key freight rail corridor upgrades that will help the National Gateway expand the flow of freight between Baltimore, Norfolk and other East Coast seaports and the Midwest.
The National Gateway is expected to cost $842 million and is being funded through a public-private partnership. The public funds committed to the project are matched by more than $400 million in private funding.
The momentum behind the National Gateway continues to build as construction of the intermodal terminal in northwest Ohio proceeds. In June, five new ultra-efficient intermodal cranes were delivered to the site. These cranes are expected to reduce emissions and improve operational efficiency when the terminal opens in spring 2011.