U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao recently awarded $7.29 million to the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad (NOPB) as part of the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) Grant. NOPB said it will use the grant funds for the New Orleans Gateway Rail Fluidity and Capacity Improvements Project.
The project aims to improve efficiencies and increase NOPB’s capacity to switch, interchange and store cars. By building additional railyard space and deploying automated switching technology, NOPB hopes to improve productivity within the strategic rail corridor by 30%. Additionally, the project aims to lead to decreases in emissions, reduced locomotive engine idle and improvements in safety by upgrading from manual to solar-powered switches along strategic points in the network.
New Orleans Public Belt Railroad Corporation (NOPBC) is a Class III switching railroad and wholly owned subsidiary of the Port of New Orleans with a mission of serving the Port of New Orleans, local customers and the New Orleans Rail Gateway. The NOPB connects six Class I’s to each other and to properties in and near the Port complex.
“This award is great news for the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad and its customers,” said Brandy D. Christian, CEO of the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad and President and CEO of the Port of New Orleans. “The project is critical to improving efficiencies in the rail gateway and providing a safer working environment for our employees. We want to thank the Louisiana delegation for their efforts to secure the funds for this project.”
“The New Orleans Public Belt Railroad and the Port of New Orleans are economic engines for the region and Louisiana’s economy,” said United States Congressman, Cedric Richmond (D-LA). “Federal investment into the New Orleans Gateway always makes good sense for our economy and the thousands of people employed in international and domestic trade. I’m proud I was able to help secure necessary funding for the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements Program (CRISI) to keep Louisiana’s economy thriving.”