WASHINGTON — An alternate route for freight rail traffic to and from the United States and Mexico to improve cross-border goods movement is one step closer to reality thanks to an agreement signed this week by the U.S. Department of Transportation and Kansas City Southern Railway, U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary E. Peters announced today.
The East Loop Bypass project proposes a new rail bridge east of Laredo, Texas, continuing across the border and south into Mexico.
“Border congestion creates an unnecessary obstacle to efficient trade with our international partners. Providing alternative routes for freight transport is good for the economy and the American people,” Peters said.
The project is part of the Department’s Transportation Border Congestion Relief Program designed to facilitate and accelerate transportation-related capacity and operational improvements at border crossings. Other projects include the Otay Mesa East Port of Entry project and the Cascade Gateway Expanded Cross-border Advanced Traveler Information System project in Blaine, Washington.
The new railroad bridge and East Loop Bypass project would improve freight movement dramatically in the region by increasing rail transport capacity at the Laredo gateway and diverting freight vehicular traffic onto rail and off congested roads. The project also would enhance safety by eliminating numerous highway-rail grade crossings.
“This project is a great example of a public-private partnership that will create more opportunity for America’s businesses while simultaneously improving safety,” said Federal Highway Administrator Tom Madison.
Peters also added that as part of the congestion relief program, the project would receive priority access to many of the Department’s assistance programs, including loans and other innovative financing mechanisms.