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Wednesday, October 07, 2009

National Gateway add more than 50 new supporters

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The National Gateway, an unprecedented public-private partnership dedicated to improving the nation's freight capacity, has added nearly 50 new supporters since June 1, 2009, bringing the total number of coalition supporters to more than 140.


The National Gateway is an $842-million, multi-state public-private infrastructure initiative that will create a more efficient freight rail route between Mid-Atlantic ports and Midwestern markets. Planned improvements include raising bridges, increasing tunnel clearances and building new terminals along existing rail corridors to support the movement of double-stacked containers on rail cars.

The coalition has the support of both public and private sector leaders, including governors and other state and local officials across six states. Additionally, more than three dozen members of Congress, three port authorities and a large number of global shippers, ocean carriers, business organizations and environmental groups have pledged their support for the National Gateway.

"Public-private partnerships like the National Gateway will yield vast benefits to the economy, the environment and the taxpayer," said Joel Haka, chief operating officer and senior vice president of operations for CMA CGM (America) LLC. "This project will create a better transportation network by creating cost-effective transportation options allowing us to better serve our customers around the globe while creating jobs and protecting the environment."

The National Gateway was recently honored as "Competitiveness Project of the Year" by the North American Strategic Infrastructure Leadership Forum, a leading infrastructure identification and development group. In addition to improving America's competitiveness in global markets, the National Gateway will create jobs, reduce transportation-related emissions and alleviate congestion on roads and highways. According to Cambridge Systematic figures from 2009, every dollar of public money invested in the National Gateway will yield $16 in public benefits by significantly increasing freight capacity and reducing transit times between coastal ports and major population centers by 24 to 48 hours.

To date, the project has received $395 million in funding commitments from freight transportation company CSX Corporation and its affiliates. States involved in the project are expected to fund $189 million, with an additional $258 million requested from the federal government.

The National Gateway coalition combines the strengths of the private and public sectors to efficiently and economically create safer, less congested roadways, improve the environment and promote economic growth. Supporters have led efforts to deliver an innovative program that will significantly benefit the millions of Americans whose lives are impacted by freight transportation every day.

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