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9/23/2009



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Four states' TIGER grant-funded projects would yield millions in public benefits, BNSF says


Yesterday, BNSF Railway Co. extolled the potential public benefits of rail projects that four states and state agencies are hoping to advance with funding assistance from federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants.

The North Central Texas Council of Governments is seeking a $61 million TIGER grant for the Tower 55 at-grade improvement project in Fort Worth. Tower 55 is one of the nation’s busiest rail intersections — accommodating more than 100 freight and passenger trains daily — and the project would boost the tower’s capacity by at least 40 percent. The TIGER grant would ensure construction could begin next year and be completed by 2012, bringing public benefits exceeding $695 million in the process, BNSF officials said in a prepared statement.

In Kansas, state officials are seeking a $50 million TIGER grant to help fund the construction of a BNSF intermodal facility near Kansas City. The Kansas City Intermodal Facility would feature environmentally friendly technologies, such as wide-span electric cranes that produce zero emissions, and automated gate systems designed to improve truck throughput and reduce idling, BNSF said. The grant would enable construction to begin next year.

Meanwhile, the state of California is seeking a $27 million TIGER grant for improvements at BNSF's Hobart Intermodal Facility in Los Angeles. The project calls for building grade separations over a BNSF mainline between the facility and off-site truck lots, and installing an automated gate system to speed truck entering/exiting processes. The project would yield public benefits exceeding $261 million, including a 50 percent boost in the facility’s pick-up and delivery productivity, and removal of about 580,000 trucks annually from adjacent city streets, BNSF said.

Finally, the state of Iowa is seeking a $25 million TIGER grant to replace the Burlington Bridge, which spans the Mississippi River between Burlington, Iowa, and Gulf Port, Ill. The bridge is among the three busiest mainline railroad bridges spanning the upper Mississippi River, BNSF said. The grant would enable construction to begin next year and yield public benefits exceeding $123 million.


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