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Transportation infrastructure: National Gateway receives award from the North American Strategic Infrastructure Leadership Forum

Progressive Railroading

Add more than four dozen to the growing number of supporters for CSX Corp.'s National Gateway intermodal corridor. Yesterday, the National Gateway public-private partnership (PPP) announced the corridor has attracted about 50 new backers since June 1, pushing the total number north of 140.

The $842 million initiative calls for creating a double-stack intermodal route between Mid-Atlantic ports and Midwestern markets. The work includes raising bridges, increasing tunnel clearances and building new terminals along existing corridors.

The PPP has gained backing from public- and private-sector leaders, including governors, other state officials and local representatives in six states, according to the National Gateway. In addition, more than three dozen members of Congress, three port authorities and a large number of shippers, ocean carriers, business organizations and environmental groups have pledged their support.

To date, CSX has committed $395 million to the project and the PPP has requested $258 million from the federal government through a Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant. States are expected to provide $189 million for the gateway, which recently was honored as the "Competitiveness Project of the Year" by the North American Strategic Infrastructure Leadership Forum.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Commerce recently awarded a $6 million economic development grant to the Jacksonville Port Authority to help finance improvements to the Blount Island Marine Terminal's rail system.

The authority will use proceeds to replace 3.5 miles of worn rail and replace ties along the 40-year-old system. The port will provide $1.7 million in matching funds. CSX uses the 14-mile Blount Island rail system, which is owned by the port, to serve the terminal and a U.S. Marine Corps unit.