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Monday, February 11, 2013    

North Carolina bill proposes to generate funding for freight-rail improvements

Four North Carolina lawmakers on Feb. 7 introduced a bill that calls for restoring a rail line from Wallace to Castle Hayne, improving a line from Castle Hayne to Wilmington and studying additional military transportation improvements.

The legislation (H.B. 86) would require the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) to seek $62.5 million in funding to improve rail access to the Port of Wilmington, of which $50 million would be used to revitalize and restore the rail connection between Wallace and Castle Hayne, and $15.2 million would be used for capital improvements on the Castle Hayne-to-Wilmington line.

The bill also would require NCDOT to investigate all potential funding sources, including contributions from the North Carolina Railroad Co., U.S. Department of Transportation or U.S. Department of Defense. NCDOT would need to report funding options to the Joint Legislative Transportation Oversight Committee no later than Nov. 1.

The committee also would study additional improvements that could be made to the state's transportation infrastructure to improve military transportation, including the movement of military personnel and equipment from bases to North Carolina facilities, such as state ports. The committee then would report its findings to the General Assembly during its 2014 regular session.

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