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CSX President and CEO James Foote will be joined by federal and state officials at a groundbreaking ceremony today in Baltimore for the long-planned Howard Street Tunnel expansion project.
The $466 million project calls for expanding the 126-year-old, CSX-owned tunnel and performing work at 21 other locations to enable trains carrying double-stacked containers to travel to and from the Port of Baltimore.
The project is expected to increase the port’s annual volume by about 160,000 containers and generate more than 14,000 jobs, CSX officials said in a press release.
"It will also eliminate the remaining impediments to seamless double-stack rail on [our] East Coast rail network, provide a more cost-effective way to transport freight, reduce congestion along the Interstate-95 corridor and deliver environmental benefits with less emissions," they said.
Dignitaries expected to join Foote at today’s event include Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, Federal Railroad Administration Deputy Administrator Amit Bose, Maryland Department of Transportation Secretary Greg Slater and Maryland Port Administration Executive Director William Doyle.
Built in 1895, the 1.7-mile-long Howard Street Tunnel has vertical clearances up to 18 inches less than the 21 feet necessary to accommodate double-stacked container trains. An expansion project has been in the planning stages for nearly 20 years.