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Op-ed - National Gateway Initiative

The Review Newspapers of Newton Falls, OH

President Obama recently announced a $787 billion economic relief package that seeks to stimulate the economy through investment in many areas of the American economy, perhaps most importantly our nation's transportation infrastructure. Ohio has a perfect opportunity to put some of that money to work on a project with local and global benefits - the National Gateway.

As America looks to rebuild its economy and infrastructure through public investment, that investment can be enhanced via public-private partnerships.

The National Gateway (www.nationalgateway.org) is a public-private partnership which will create a state-of-the-art rail corridor linking the Mid-Atlantic's international ports and population centers with the Midwest's manufacturing and distribution centers through use of double-stack trains. Double-stack trains will add valuable capacity to an essential transportation corridor, and the National Gateway will provide the capacity, facilities and equipment to attract and serve businesses around the state and the globe.

Ohio will realize over $745 million in public benefits through the National Gateway from new jobs, increased tax collection and improved railway reliability. By diverting freight from our crowded highways, the National Gateway will lead to reduced emissions and highway maintenance costs as well as improved road safety. The National Gateway will bring thousands of construction jobs to our state as the National Gateway route is cleared and intermodal terminals are completed.

The National Gateway will help businesses in Ohio and throughout the region be more competitive in the global economy. The National Gateway will expand transportation options, reduce shipping costs and improve the flow of goods between the Midwest and the East Coast. By expanding rail access and providing new shipping options, the National Gateway is expected to reduce overall freight shipping costs on goods entering and leaving our state by $100 million.

Private organizations have expressed strong support for this initiative, committing $350 million out of the overall $700 million dollars needed to complete the National Gateway. This coalition of supporters is seeking funding from the state and federal government to secure the necessary funding to move forward.

These are exciting times, as our nation is finally focusing on the importance of investing in our nation's infrastructure. Around the country, we must encourage projects that will revitalize our nation's economy through transportation infrastructure improvements. In Ohio, we must move quickly to support infrastructure investment to realize the full benefits possible through revitalized infrastructure.

Public-private partnerships such as the National Gateway will yield vast benefits to the economy, the environment and the taxpayer. Together, must encourage our elected officials to support deserving projects such as the National Gateway that will stimulate our economy and move the nation forward.