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Louisiana, Maine to craft long-range rail strategies

Louisiana and Maine are taking steps to improve freight and rail transportation in their respective states.

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) and Louisiana Department of Economic Development are conducting a two-day summit in New Orleans to examine ways to improve the state’s freight transportation system. The summit will be attended by representatives from the freight transportation industry, as well as state, federal and local government officials.

Attendees will draft a plan outlining 20 strategies, touching on regulations, taxation, policies and financing, aimed at establishing a more efficient and reliable freight transportation system.

“In November, we asked the freight industry how we could create a more efficient and reliable intermodal freight transportation system in our state, and now we are responding with a specific action plan,” said DOTD Secretary William Ankner in a prepared statement.

Meanwhile, the Maine Department of Transportation will hold two public meetings later this month to review the development of the Maine State Rail Plan for both freight- and passenger-rail systems. Meetings will be held in Bangor and Portland.

To be completed in early 2010, the 10-year plan will define ways to prioritize public investments in rail, determine how rail meets the needs of the state and examine forces that might be hindering efforts to address regional and statewide rail needs.

“Funding for maintaining and operating an efficient passenger and freight rail system is very complex, and this study will be a great way to make this aspect of transportation planning part of the public dialogue,” said Nate Moulton, the DOT’s rail plan project manager.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 9/18/2009