Monday, October 26, 2009

Proposed National Gateway projects create thousands of jobs

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The National Gateway initiative will spur thousands of employment opportunities throughout the Midwest and East Coast, creating growth and building the nation's economic 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. Planned improvements that will create job opportunities 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 National Gateway will create more than 50,000 jobs, with almost 10,000 of those jobs created during the initial construction phase. One half of the jobs created will be located in 14 economically distressed areas. Examples of National Gateway projects that will benefit local economies include numerous clearance projects, expansion of the Charlotte intermodal terminal in North Carolina, and the development of a terminal in Pittsburgh, Pa.

"The National Gateway project is important for America's competitiveness," said Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell. "This initiative helps the environment, it helps our economy, it helps us in so many different ways."

The project aims to increase port capacity and the nation's ability to distribute goods, making the United States more competitive in the global economy. For every dollar of public money invested in the National Gateway, the project will yield $22 in public benefits by significantly increasing freight capacity and reducing transit times between coastal ports and major population centers by 24 to 48 hours. Overall, the National Gateway will save $3.5 billion in shipping and logistics costs.

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.

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