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9/25/2009



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Ohio transit agency and regional win stimulus grants; Connecticut city/port hope to land TIGER grant


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The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (GCRTA) recently received a $2.3 million stimulus grant from the Federal Transit Administration for an energy conservation project. GCRTA was one of 43 transit agencies that received a total of $100 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding to advance projects that will reduce global warming, lessen the nation's dependence on oil and create “green” jobs.

The authority recently determined that more than 60 percent of facility-related energy usage and cost is associated with eight facilities, including the Central Rail Maintenance and Central Bus Maintenance facilities, four bus garages, a paratranist facility and the Root McBride main office building.

GCRTA plans to reduce energy usage by replacing light fixtures, installing control systems and upgrading roofs. The work is projected to save the agency about $500,000 annually and reduce energy usage by more than 6.3 million kilowatt hours per year.

Meanwhile, the Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway Co. obtained an ARRA grant to upgrade five grade crossings along its line between Smithville and Orrville with flashing lights and gates. The Ohio Rail Development Commission authorized the regional to proceed with engineering work and construction.

While the Ohio regional and transit agency have stimulus grants in hand, the City of New Haven, Conn., and New Haven Port Authority will await word until early 2010 on their $77 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant application. The TIGER program was created through ARRA.

The parties plan to reconstruct Waterfront Street, build rail spurs at two terminals, upgrade tanks and improve pipelines to facilitate the transport of renewable fuels at the port. The city also would use grant proceeds to replace an unfinished highway with an urban boulevard and create up to 10 acres of developable land in the vicinity of the Yale School of Medicine and Yale-New Haven Hospital.

The projects would generate about $200 million in economic activity over the next three years, according to the city and port authority.


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