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Tuesday, September 03, 2013    

TIGER V grants on tap for six rail projects, congressmen say


Six freight- and passenger-rail projects will receive Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery V (TIGER V) grants from the U.S. Department of Transportation, a number of congressmen announced on Friday.

• In Missouri, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) announced the city of Kansas City will receive a $20 million grant to build a two-mile streetcar line from the River Market area to the Crown Center/Union Station area, primarily by using the Main Street corridor.

The line is slated to be operational by summer 2015. The TIGER V grant will cover about 20 percent of the project's cost, McCaskill said in a press release.

"This streetcar project will encourage housing, construction and business development in the city — and that will mean more jobs across the region," she said.

• In Illinois, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) announced the city of Springfield will obtain a $14.4 million grant to build one of eight underpasses for the 10th Street railroad consolidation project.

The $22 million underpass would be built where Carpenter Street intersects tracks at 10th Street in Springfield. The city must complete complete design and engineering work by September 2014 or it risks losing the grant, according to Durbin.

In December 2012, the Federal Railroad Administration approved the proposed relocation of Union Pacific Railroad and Amtrak tracks from Third Street to a Norfolk Southern Railway line along 10th Street. The consolidation would require construction of a second set of tracks for UP and Amtrak trains, a $315 million project expected to take eight years to complete.

• In Maryland, Sens. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) and Ben Cardin (D-Md.), and Reps. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.) and John Sarbanes (D-Md.) announced the Maryland Port Administration (MPA) will receive a $10 million grant to complete the Fairfield Terminal project at the Port of Baltimore.

The project involves the replacement of an obsolete and dilapidated wet basin in the port with a new 7.6-acre, rail-served cargo lay-down area at the terminal. The project will expand handling capacity at the marine terminal, improve rail access and increase intermodal flexibility for exports, according to the MPA.

• In Arizona, Rep. Ron Barber (D-Ariz.) announced Pima County will obtain a $5 million TIGER V grant for a new an intermodal ramp at the Port of Tucson.

The project calls for building a ramp off UP’s mainline so containers can be unloaded at the inland port and transferred to trucks or trains. The 780-acre port has invested about $15 million to develop the project, including the addition of warehouses totaling 2 million square feet, said Barber in a press release.

"The Port of Tucson is Union Pacific Railroad’s only intermodal ramp in Arizona," Barber wrote in the county's TIGER V grant application submitted in May. "The expansion of the port’s current capacity to handle transloading to and from international ocean containers dramatically increases Arizona’s competitiveness in overseas markets and distinguishes this project as one of regional significance."

• In Colorado, Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) announced the town of Windsor won a $2.7 million grant to establish two quiet zones.

"Train noise is a serious issue affecting communities throughout Colorado. It can deter economic development, hurt small businesses and reduce Coloradans' quality of life," Udall said in a press release. "This competitive grant will help Windsor work with the Federal Railroad Administration to reduce train noise and address this serious issue for the town."

• In New York, Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) announced the Port of Oswego will receive a $1.5 million grant to upgrade infrastructure.

The port plans to construct a roadway, embedded with heavy rail, connecting the main east Terminal to a six-acre open-storage area to accommodate both truck and rail traffic — nearly doubling the current storage and operation area — and construct two additional side tracks to increase rail-car storage capacity from 16 to 48 cars.

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