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U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx yesterday kicked off his "Invest in America, Commit to the Future" bus tour by visiting the Pickaway County Connector project in Columbus, Ohio.The stop is part of a five-day tour through eight states during which Foxx will visit bridges, freight facilities and highway projects in an effort to raise awareness about the nation's transportation infrastructure needs.Also known as the Rickenbacker Intermodal Connector, the $29.8 million Pickaway County Connector will connect U.S. Highway 23 and Norfolk Southern Railway's Rickenbacker Intermodal Facility near Lockbourne, Ohio. Construction on the project’s first phase began in late 2012 and is expected to be completed later this year. The project received a $16 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant in 2012. The intermodal facility can handle 250,000 containers annually and might increase capacity to 400,000 containers in the coming years, Foxx said in a press release."This increased capacity is especially important as the U.S. is expected to move an additional 14 billion tons of freight by 2050," he said. "By making it easier for trucks to avoid stopping at the area’s major railroad crossings to wait for trains to pass, the new connector will cut delivery times and costs dramatically and, by reducing emissions from idling engines, will also enhance the region’s air quality."After touring the project, Foxx addressed the Obama administration’s plan to pursue a $302 billion, four-year surface transportation reauthorization proposal. The plan will provide investments in the national infrastructure network of roads, bridges and rail lines, increase safety and efficiency, and provide greater access to ladders of opportunity, Foxx said."Throughout our history, Americans have always been able to leave their children a brighter future, thanks in part to the opportunities transportation has provided," he said. "We are at risk of failing our children. We need to not only invest in America, but commit to the future — not only rebuild and repair our roads and bridges, but re-imagine how we do it."
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