Thursday, October 08, 2009

JAXPORT awarded $6-million grant for Blount Island rail improvements

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The U.S. Department of Commerce has awarded a $6-million Economic Development Administration grant to JAXPORT in Jacksonville, Fla., to help improve the Blount Island Marine Terminal railroad system. The grant will be used to rebuild existing track and rail ties, allowing JAXPORT to enhance its global competitiveness and continue to create and retain private sector jobs.

This award is the result of a grant proposal submitted by the port earlier this year in response to a competitive funding opportunity offered by the U.S. Department of Commerce. The award is not part of any federal stimulus program.

The 14-mile-long single-track Blount Island rail system is owned by JAXPORT. CSX Transportation provides cargo movement by rail to and from the terminal for JAXPORT tenants, as well as for the U.S. Marine Corps command unit situated on Blount Island. More than 30 percent of all Blount Island cargo moves by rail, with the remainder moving by truck.

The Blount Island rail system is more than 40 years old and the grant project calls for the replacement of those portions of the existing track that have outlived their usefulness.

Other grant facts:

• JAXPORT will contribute $1.7 million in matching funds to the project.

• More than 19,000 linear feet (3.5 miles) of new rail will be laid down.

• More than 12,000 timber ties will be replaced.

• 15 new turnouts will be built.

• The new portions of rail line will follow the same footprint as the existing line.

• At 754 acres, Blount Island is JAXPORT's largest marine terminal.

• Approximately 80 percent of all JAXPORT container cargo moves through Blount Island.

JAXPORT moved nearly 8 and a half million tons of cargo in 2008

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