NORFOLK, Va. — Norfolk Southern’s Crescent Corridor Intermodal Freight Program of Projects was awarded $105 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Program.
In September 2009, lead state Pennsylvania, joined by Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Virginia, submitted an application to USDOT for a $300 million TIGER grant to help improve Norfolk Southern’s rail lines and facilities between the Gulf Coast and the Northeast. Although the award represents a shortfall from the original TIGER request, it will enable NS and its partners to begin construction of several previously announced Crescent Corridor projects, while delaying other elements for later public-private partnerships.
“This was an extremely competitive process, and we are grateful that the economic opportunities and environmental benefits of our Crescent Corridor initiative have been recognized,” said Norfolk Southern CEO Wick Moorman.
The Crescent Corridor is an existing 2,500-mile rail network through 13 states from Louisiana to New Jersey that touches 26 percent of the nation’s population and 30 percent of the nation’s manufacturing output. When fully operational it will handle more rail freight traffic faster and more reliably, creating or benefiting some 73,000 green jobs by 2030, and producing these estimated annual benefits:
— 1.3 million long-haul trucks diverted from interstates
— $146 million in accident avoidance savings
— 1.9 million tons in CO2 reduction
— $575 million in congestion savings
— $92 million in highway maintenance savings
— 169 million gallons in fuel savings
The $105 million TIGER grant joins funding from Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Norfolk Southern already committed to Crescent Corridor projects. The Crescent Corridor program of projects is estimated to cost $2.5 billion for full development by 2020. Crescent Corridor projects currently planned for development include new independent intermodal facilities at Memphis, Tenn., Birmingham, Ala., and Franklin County, Pa.; the expansion of intermodal terminals in Harrisburg and Philadelphia, Pa.; and the addition of freight rail capacity in Virginia and Mississippi.
The program includes significant investments in rail route improvements consisting of additional passing tracks, double track projects, improved signaling systems, and other track speed improvements.