DUBLIN, Ohio — CSX Corp. has launched the National Gateway, a $700 million public-private infrastructure initiative to create a highly efficient freight transportation link between the Mid-Atlantic ports and the Midwest.
When completed, the National Gateway would provide greater capacity for product shipments in and out of the Midwest, reduce truck traffic on already crowded highways, and create thousands of jobs that directly or indirectly support the National Gateway.
CSX has already committed $300 million to the National Gateway, and will work with several states and the federal government to secure additional funding.
The National Gateway incorporates two primary parts. First, CSX would build or expand several high-capacity, job-producing intermodal terminals where product shipments are exchanged between trucks and trains.
At the same time, CSX would work together with state and federal government agencies to create double-stack clearances beneath public overpasses along the railroad. Double-stack clearances allow rail carriers to stack intermodal containers atop each other, enabling each train to carry about twice as many cargo boxes. Currently many overpasses only accommodate single-stack trains.
“More and more, the nation is becoming aware of the tremendous safety, economic and environmental benefits that railroads create. 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,” said Michael J. Ward, chairman, president and chief executive officer of CSX. “The National Gateway leverages those benefits to the fullest by combining the resources and expertise of the public and private sectors.”
The National Gateway was launched at the offices of Pacer International, a CSX customer, in Dublin, Ohio with Gov. Ted Strickland. The governor has pledged to work with state and federal officials to support the initiative, which calls for two new intermodal terminals in Wood County and Columbus at a cost of $130 million to CSX.
The terminals will ultimately spur the development of related businesses and thousands of jobs to support them.
“In Ohio, this initiative helps solidify our state’s position as a transportation gateway for the country,” Strickland said. “This is a major competitive advantage that can greatly benefit the citizens of Ohio, and the state of Ohio is committed to doing its part to help build this sort of needed infrastructure. In doing so, we’ll also be setting an example for other states around the nation.”
“We are delighted that CSX and Governor Strickland are taking these important steps to ensure the future viability of our transportation system,” said Michael E. Uremovich, Chairman and CEO, Pacer International.
The National Gateway will enhance three existing rail corridors that run through Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia. Those corridors include:
— The I-70/I-76 Corridor between Washington, D.C., and northwest Ohio via Pittsburgh
— The I-95 Corridor between North Carolina and Baltimore via Washington, D.C.
— The Carolina Corridor between Wilmington and Charlotte, N.C.
The U.S. Department of Transportation forecasts that by 2020, overall freight tonnage hauled in the United States will have grown by 70 percent from 1998 levels. The National Gateway infrastructure initiative is designed to address the ever-increasing demands placed on the nation’s capacity strained freight network.
A study of the National Gateway project by Cambridge Systematics, a nationally recognized transportation research firm based in Cambridge, MA found that every $1 of public money invested in rail infrastructure improvements will lead to $8 in public benefits. The study noted that by improving the flow of freight and shifting freight transportation from the highway to the railway, the initiative will improve safety, relieve congestion, benefit the environment and reduce highway maintenance costs.