In a letter to Michael J. Ward, Chairman, President and CEO of CSX, Mayor Rawlings-Blake said the stalled project threatens one of Baltimore's strongest pillars of economic growth and job creation. The letter follows a meeting with the mayor and port-related industry leaders and comes as the Brookings Institution releases a new study, urging the Baltimore region to create a transportation and logistics system that can efficiently and effectively move goods to support the region's economy and create middle-class jobs.
"As a strong advocate for the Port of Baltimore, I'm deeply troubled by the slow pace of this project and the ongoing resistance to the idea of strengthening our critical port infrastructure," Mayor Rawlings-Blake wrote. "With the widening of the Panama Canal nearing completion, we need to ensure that more cargo can be efficiently transported to and from the port in a way that makes economic sense for shippers and keeps Baltimore relevant in the 21st-century global economy."
"Specifically, we need to develop the capacity to handle trains with double-stacked containers. In the near term, the best way to do that is to work quickly to identify an appropriate site for the intermodal facility in Baltimore City," Mayor Rawlings-Blake continued. "If we fail to take swift action, economic opportunity will pass us by. I am urging CSX Transportation to work closely and immediately with the Maryland Department of Transportation and the city to identify an appropriate site for the new intermodal facility in the city of Baltimore."