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Thursday, September 17, 2009

D.C. area board supports CSXT rail improvements

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A regional transportation board voted to support a rail company initiative to significantly expand freight capacity in the busy Washington train corridor, according to The Washington Post. The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments' Transportation Policy Board approved a letter supporting federal grant applications to help pay for $160 million in freight network improvements for rail giant CSX Transportation. The board plays a key role in setting regional transportation policy.

The rail line has identified 13 projects in Maryland, the District and Virginia that would clear obstructions that prevent the company from running double-stack train cars.

Some members of the board complained that CSXT, which along with Amtrak owns most of the track used by regional commuter lines, has made passenger rail service a low priority. The board voted to toughen language in its letter that sought to tie CSXT to commitments it made to the board to allocate more slots for passenger trains. A CSXT spokesman said improvements to the freight network would raise efficiency throughout the system, including passenger train service.