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9/16/2009



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

CREATE, Crescent Corridor PPPs seek TIGER grants


Public-private partners in the Chicago Region Environmental and Transportation Efficiency (CREATE) program and Crescent Corridor intermodal gateway are pursuing federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants to help fund their billion-dollar projects.

As the representative for CREATE, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) is seeking a $300 million TIGER grant from the U.S. DOT to help fund 16 of the program’s 78 proposed projects. In addition, CREATE partners will provide an additional 39 percent, or $117.4 million, in matching funds. The partners include Amtrak, the Association of American Railroads, BNSF Railway Co., Belt Railway Co. of Chicago, CN, Canadian Pacific, CSX Transportation, Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad Co., Metra, Norfolk Southern Railway, Union Pacific Railroad, and the Illinois and Chicago DOTs.

TIGER grant proceeds would fund projects on CREATE’s Beltway and Western Avenue corridors, including 13 rail upgrades, two grade separations and one viaduct improvement project that are projected to be completed by 2012. The 16 projects would enable the partners to “move the two corridors to near-completion, yielding substantial near-term benefits,” according to the TIGER grant application.

The estimated public and private benefits include 17,684 hours in annual freight-rail delay reductions; $265 million in annual logistics cost savings; 57,631 passenger hours in reduced passenger-rail delays; 2.9 million gallons in saved diesel consumption; and $2.5 million in annual costs savings associated with emissions and fuel-usage reductions.

Meanwhile, on behalf of the Crescent Corridor public-private partnership led by NS and including the states of Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and Virginia, the state of Pennsylvania has applied for a $300 million TIGER grant for the proposed 2,500-mile intermodal route to be established from New Jersey to Tennessee (Memphis) and Louisiana (New Orleans).

The grant would help fund new intermodal facilities in Memphis, Birmingham, Ala., and Franklin County, Pa.; and the expansion of intermodal terminals in Philadelphia and Harrisburg, Pa. The five partner states and NS also plan to build 10 passing tracks, complete 557 track speed improvements and upgrade 393 miles of rail.

The corridor’s estimated public and private benefits include $326 million in tax revenues; 1.3 million long-haul trucks diverted from interstates; 1.9 million tons in reduced CO2 emissions; $575 million in congestion savings; and 169 million gallons in saved fuel.


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