One day after telling
City Council that light-rail construction costs will not exceed the latest
estimate of $328 million, Hampton Road Transit officials said that the price
could climb another $12 million, The Virginian-Pilot reports. During a
closed-door executive committee meeting, HRT consultants revealed that the
project, which was budgeted to cost $232 million when construction started,
could rise to about $340 million, a 47 percent increase, several board members
confirmed. They added that the projection is preliminary.
After years of waiting,
Burlington, Iowa, residents were rewarded for their patience with a Christmas
gift, The Hawkeye reports. At midnight Dec. 24, the city became a train horn
quiet zone. Earlier this month, quiet
zone status was granted by the Federal Railroad Administration based on safety
modifications to downtown railroad crossings.
Construction of a new
railroad siding in the west industrial park in Washington, Mo., could begin
late next spring or early summer if the city receives final approval of state
and federal grant funds it's seeking, the Missourian reports. The city has
received the preliminary nod for more than $2 million in state economic
development grants to finance the "team track" rail siding at the end
of West Main Street, according to Dick Oldenburg, economic development director.
Union Pacific has
raised the roof on 15 of its tunnels over Donner Pass in the Sierra, allowing
double-stacked trains to cross the pass and go through Reno for the first time
on the way to Chicago, the Reno Gazette-Journal reports. When the recession
ebbs, more trains could be coming through Reno and Sparks. Double-stacked
trains have been routed through the longer and more difficult Feather River
Canyon north of Reno.
The Port of Vancouver,
Wash., will receive nearly $3 million in additional federal funds to help build
rail lines for its $137-million West Vancouver Freight Access project, the Portland
Business Journal reports. The new allocation comes with the help of U.S. Sen.
Patty Murray, D-Wash., and was included in the final version of the fiscal 2010
Consolidated Appropriations Act.
Work on Caltrain's Grade
Crossing Improvement Program, which will enhance safety at 25 grade crossings
in San Mateo County, continues. The schedule includes Maple Avenue, Chestnut
Street and Broadway, Redwood City, 8:00 p.m. - 4:00 a.m., Dec. 28-30. Throughout
the project area, at least one lane of the impacted street will remain open. Flagmen
will direct traffic and pedestrians around the construction.
The Illinois Commerce
Commission has granted approval for the installation of automatic flashing
light signals and gates and highway approach grade improvements at the 160th
Street crossing of BNSF track located near Galesburg, Warren County. The
estimated cost to install the new automatic flashing light signals and gates is
$518,729. The Grade Crossing
Protection Fund will pay 95 percent of the warning device installation costs,
not to exceed $492,793. BNSF will
pay the remaining warning device installation costs, as well as all future
operating and maintenance costs.
Norfolk Southern Corp.
expects to learn next month whether the U.S. Department of Transportation will
provide it with a $300-million stimulus grant as the company works to complete
a $2.5-billion rail project, Northern Virginia Daily reports.
According to government forecasts, freight volumes
in the United States will significantly increase by 2020. Unless major
transportation infrastructure improvements are made, this could lead to reduced
productivity resulting in job losses, higher prices for the goods we buy and
reduced worldwide demand for the goods we sell. The National Gateway - an $842-million
multi-state public-private infrastructure initiative - will help meet current
infrastructure needs and prepare the nation for this projected growth by
investing in surface transportation infrastructure improvements.