Tuesday, September 29, 2009

National Gateway Honored as "Competitiveness Project of the Year"

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The National Gateway coalition has been honored as "Competitiveness Project of the Year" by the North American Strategic Infrastructure Leadership Forum, a leading infrastructure identification and development group. The award recognizes the National Gateway as the "project that contributes most to the [North American] region's capacity for global competitiveness."

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. This is achieved by raising bridges, increasing tunnel clearances and building terminals along an existing rail corridor to support the movement of double-stacked containers on rail cars.

The project will improve American competitiveness in global markets, create jobs, reduce transportation-related emissions and alleviate congestion on roads and highways. Every dollar invested in the National Gateway returns $6 of public benefits by significantly increasing freight capacity and reducing transit times between East and West Coast 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 has the support of Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, Ohio Governor Ted Strickland, Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, Virginia Governor Tim Kaine, West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin and North Carolina Governor Bev Purdue. The National Gateway coalition includes more than three dozen United States Senators and Representatives, as well a large coalition of state officials, business groups and environmental advocates. For a complete list of supporters, visit www.nationalgateway.org.

"Today there is an urgent need for strategic investment in transportation infrastructure," said Carl Warren, director of strategic infrastructure for CSX Intermodal. "This award is an acknowledgement of the National Gateway's role in meeting those critical needs."

Warren thanked the states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina for their leadership in this partnership to enhance the region's competitiveness.

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