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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Port Authority completes major components of ExpressRail

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Continuing its initiatives to maintain world-class facilities while improving air quality at the Port of New York and New Jersey, the Port Authority said that two major components of the Port of New York and New Jersey's $600 million ExpressRail project have been completed. The projects will allow 1.3 million cargo containers to be shipped by rail, taking approximately three million trucks off state and local roads.

The agency finished construction of a second lead track to the ExpressRail Elizabeth, N.J., facility that will allow trains to arrive and depart simultaneously. In addition, construction was completed on a rail support facility along Corbin Street that will be able to handle four 10,000-foot trains daily.

These projects are the culmination of a multiyear effort to promote the use of rail to transport cargo. The completion of these two projects will attract new cargos and new services to the port. For example, in anticipation of this rail capacity expansion, Norfolk Southern has developed a new direct service to Harrisburg and CSX Transportation will begin a new direct service to Buffalo at the end of this month.

Port Authority Chairman Anthony R. Coscia said, "Completing these two major components of ExpressRail, 18 months ahead of schedule, will ensure our port's future competitiveness and help us remove millions of truck trips annually from our local roads. This is a win-win for the economy and the environment."

During 2008, the Port of New York and New Jersey set a new record for its on-dock rail system, transporting 377,827 containers for the year, a nearly six-percent increase over 2007. This year, the economic recession has resulted in a 16-percent decline in cargo volumes flowing through the port and a corresponding 21 percent drop in rail business.

In another story, the Port Authority was awarded a $48.3-million federal stimulus grant for projects that will enhance security on its PATH rail system. The money will be used to upgrade PATH infrastructure to enhance the security for the millions of customers who use it each year.

The Port Authority received three-quarters of the $72.2 million in federal Transit Security Stimulus Grant money available nationally for capital projects.

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