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Rail News: Intermodal
Survey: Many ports need better rail access
In a recent survey, U.S. port authorities identified more than $20 billion in multimodal port and rail-access needs over the next decade, with a third of those citing pressing rail projects that cost at least $50 million, according to the American Association of Port Authorities (AAPA).
In its "State of Freight III" report, the association examined the freight transportation needs at U.S. member port authorities, with an emphasis on rail access.
"The findings show that while the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act has been essential in providing the building blocks for a national freight program, more must be done to ensure that multimodal goods movement projects have adequate resources to produce efficient and timely results," said AAPA President and Chief Executive Officer Kurt Nagle in a press release.
The needed projects are "crucial to address our nation's increasing freight volumes and enhance America's international competitiveness," he added.
According to the report, 80 percent of AAPA ports are seeking better rail access. Forty-three percent of ports said that better rail access would add more than 25 percent throughput capacity at their ports.
Many ports also said that projects are needed to build connections to Class Is or markets in the nation's interior where consumers depend on goods coming through seaports and into the heartland.
When asked about the obstacles to realizing improved port rail access:
• 67 percent of ports said funding and financing options are the biggest initial obstacles in getting rail projects started;
• 37 percent said that problematic grade crossings or height-restricted overpasses and tunnels within or near ports currently constrain capacity; and
• 36 percent said that land acquisition is a big problem in developing and planning rail projects.
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