Work now can begin on improvements that will allow double-stacked trains to move freely from Northwest Ohio through Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Maryland because of an agreement between the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Ohio Rail Development Commission. The National Gateway Freight Rail Project received $98 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which will help complete the first corridor project.
“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 U.S Transportation 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 will increase freight capacity and make the corridors a cost-effective option for major ports and shippers. DOT also sees that the project will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fuel usage, shorten transport times and expand access to rail services.
“This new initiative will give businesses a more competitive edge by giving them additional options for moving goods between the Midwest and our nation’s ports along the East Coast,” says Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez.
The grant is part of the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant program included in ARRA to promote innovative, multimodal and multijurisdictional transportation projects that provide significant economic and environmental benefits to an entire metropolitan area, region or the nation. DOT announced the selection of $1.5 billion worth of TIGER grants for 51 projects as part of the one-year anniversary of the Recovery Act on Feb. 17.