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Rail News: CSX Transportation

Howard Street Tunnel project back on with CSX support, Maryland delegation says


CSX has reversed an earlier decision and determined the Class I will participate in a project to upgrade the Howard Street Tunnel in Baltimore, Maryland federal and local officials announced late last week.

Railroad officials appeared to "walk away" from the proposal about a year ago, and are now willing to commit $91 million toward the tunnel project's cost, Maryland's congressional delegation said in a press release.

"We are pleased that CSX has reversed its position on the Howard Street Tunnel project and is once again supportive and willing to participate," said U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Maryland) in a press release.

The long-planned tunnel reconstruction and clearance project would eliminate height restrictions to enable double-stacked intermodal trains to move to and from the Port of Baltimore. Baltimore and port officials have said the project is central to the port's future and the region's economy.

The CSX commitment to the project was agreed to during a meeting last week between CSX Chief Executive Officer Jim Foote and the Maryland congressional delegation. The meeting occurred about a year after Foote met with the delegation to review CSX's initial decision to pull out of the project.

During last week's meeting, Foote discussed research done by CSX personnel over the past year and committed to re-engage in the project with a $91 million contribution to its cost, federal officials said.

"Replacement of the Howard Street Tunnel is in the economic interest of Baltimore and the region, as well as the safety for the immediate area," said Cardin. "It's now incumbent on all stakeholders — federal, state, local and other sin the private sector who would benefit from this project — to come together to update the finance plan for getting this done in the most efficient and safe manner possible."

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