Thursday, February 02, 2012

Broward County and FEC Railway reach agreement to build Port Everglades rail facility

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The Broward County Board of County Commissioners in Florida approved a 30-year lease and operating agreement with the Florida East Coast Railway, L.L.C., to develop an Intermodal Container Transfer Facility at Port Everglades, which will allow freight to move more efficiently between south Florida and the southeast United States via rail. The facility will become operational at the beginning of 2014.



"This is a great public-private partnership that has been 15 years in the making and is expected to take less than two years to complete," said Broward County Mayor John Rodstrom, Jr. "The ICTF is a double-bonus win for Broward County because it will help increase international trade while taking trucks off the roads."



The ICTF at Port Everglades will be used to transfer international containers between ship and rail within the port instead of having trucks haul the containers to and from off-port rail terminals, currently located off Andrews Avenue in Fort Lauderdale and in central Miami-Dade County. The FEC also plans to relocate its existing domestic intermodal service from its Andrews Avenue rail yard to the ICTF at Port Everglades.

Once completed, the ICTF is expected to reduce congestion on interstate highways and local roadways and reduce harmful air emissions by diverting an estimated 180,000 trucks by 2027.

In July 2011, Port Everglades took the first step towards developing the ICTF when the Florida Department of Transportation broke ground on the Eller Drive Overpass, which will elevate I-595/Eller Drive to allow the freight trains to access the southport area of the port at ground level. The Overpass project is expected to be completed by late-2013 at a cost of $53 million.



The lease between the county and the FEC was a prerequisite for the railway to secure a $30 million loan from the Florida State Infrastructure Bank. FDOT is expected to make a final decision later this year. The total project cost for the ICTF at Port Everglades is estimated to be $72 million, including a 42.5-acre port land contribution by Broward County valued at $19 million. The remaining costs will be covered by the FEC and FDOT grants. Combined, both the Eller Drive Overpass and the ICTF projects are estimated to create 767 construction jobs over three years. 



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