A plan to expand the Howard Street Tunnel isn’t completely off the table, but CSX says a path forward is dependent on a solution that meets the long-term goals of the railroad, the state of Maryland and the Port of Baltimore.
Height restrictions within the 121-year-old tunnel prevent the shipment of double-stacked intermodal containers by rail to and from the Port of Baltimore, which is seeing a significant increase in activity. CSX halted plans to expand the tunnel in November 2017 following the determination that the proposed project no longer justified the level of investment required.
The Maryland Democratic Congressional Delegation has sent a letter to CSX Corporation President and CEO James Foote on Sept. 6 requesting a status update of the Howard Street Tunnel Project. Missing from the letter was Maryland’s lone Republican, Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md-1).
The Members of Congress called the Port of Baltimore an economic hub and claimed it had been more than eight months since the railroad met with elected officials and representatives of the Maryland Department of Transportation.
“As the Port of Baltimore continues to see record growth both in international cargo value and volume, a solution to the Howard Street Tunnel bottle-neck is more important than ever. We hope that you agree…,” said the letter.
CSX’s full response to the letter said, “CSX appreciates the Maryland delegation’s support for the economic engine that is the Port of Baltimore and their continued interest in the Howard Street Tunnel project. Since our meeting with the delegation several months ago, we have spent considerable time analyzing the opportunity, meeting with key stakeholders and exploring multiple options, including the appropriate level of CSX’s investment. We will remain in regular contact with Members of the Maryland delegation as these thoughtful and deliberate discussions continue. Our focus has always been to find a path forward, if possible, that meets the long-term needs of the Port, the State and CSX.”