Friday, September 06, 2013

Phase One of National Gateway completed

Written by  William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief
Phase One of the National Gateway—a doublestack clearance project connecting CSX’s existing intermodal terminal in Chambersburg, Pa., and its new, state-of-the-art Northwest Ohio Intermodal Terminal hub facility, has been completed on time, and on budget.

The $850 million National Gateway, one of the nation’s largest transportation PPPs (public-private partnerships), when completed will create a doublestack-cleared rail corridor between the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest. It is made possible through a combination of federal and state funds and CSX investment. Public funding for Phase One was supported by a federal TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grant secured by the State of Ohio and administered by the Eastern Federal Lands Highway Division of the Federal Highway Administration.

The National Gateway is currently focused on the project’s Phase Two, which will doublestack-clear the CSX corridor between Chambersburg and mid-Atlantic ports in Maryland and Virginia. Commenting on Phase One’s completion, CSX chief executive Michael J. Ward said, “We celebrate the efforts of federal and state officials in achieving this milestone, which means more jobs, a more competitive America, and a more environmentally friendly way to move freight. This is great news for our nation’s transportation infrastructure, our customers, and the communities we serve, and wouldn’t be possible without the major investment of time and resources by our federal and state partners. While this is a significant milestone, our work is not done. Working with our public sector partners, we need to finish the job and complete doublestack clearances between Chambersburg and the Ports of Baltimore and Virginia.”

Since its inception, the National Gateway has been supported by governors and other public officials across six states, including more than three dozen members of Congress, three port authorities, and dozens of global shippers, ocean carriers, business organizations, and environmental groups. Over a 30-year period, the project is expected to create more than 50,000 jobs and deliver a host of benefits including reduced fuel consumption, lower emissions, better safety, lower highway maintenance costs, and reduced shipping costs. For example, at CSX’s Northwest Ohio Intermodal Terminal, nearly 300 full-time employees are handling hundreds of thousands of containers per year.

“The National Gateway will stimulate economic activity and boost the U.S.’s competitive edge in the global economy while employing the people who will prepare us to meet future challenges,” added Ward. “CSX is proud to support this significant infrastructure investment that will help modernize our transportation system and spur growth.”

“The completion of these clearances improves Schneider Intermodal’s customer experience while also providing more modal conversion opportunities for shippers,” said Schneider National Senior Vice President Intermodal Commercial Management Jim Filter. “The National Gateway helps deliver our truck-like service commitment by increasing reliability and providing faster intermodal transit.”

“Thanks to the National Gateway project, the most state-of-the art intermodal yard is now located in North Baltimore, Ohio,” said Ohio Rail Development Commission Executive Director Matthew Dietrich. “The intermodal freight connections provided by the National Gateway put Ohio at the hub of moving goods in North America. ORDC is very proud to be a part of this vast public-private partnership that is boosting our nation’s economic development potential.”

“The National Gateway is a great example of the benefits that public and private organizations can deliver together,” said Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Secretary of Transportation Barry Schoch. “As an engineer, I’m proud of the role played by Pennsylvania and the many other public partners in this engineering feat that will drive economic growth and development for years to come.”

“The efficient and effective transportation of goods is essential to ensuring America remains strong in an increasingly competitive global marketplace,” said Congressman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), Chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. “Initiatives like the National Gateway will help strengthen Pennsylvania’s and the nation’s economy by improving the flow of commerce and creating jobs.”