Statement by Senator George Voinovich (R-OH)
Mr. President, I rise today to address the impact the freight rail industry has on reducing our greenhouse gas emissions. According to a recent Department of Transportation study, freight traffic is expected to increase 67 percent by 2020--against a backdrop of concerns about global climate change, the stringency of clean air standards, increased traffic congestion, high energy prices, and the need for greater energy independence. Freight rail is the most energy efficient and environmentally friendly mode of land transportation. Today, freight rail can move a ton of freight 436 miles on a single gallon of diesel. U.S. freight railroads have significantly reduced their carbon intensity and fuel efficiency. In 1980, 1 gallon of diesel fuel moved 1 ton of freight by rail an average of 235 miles. In 2007, the
I am pleased that CSX is working with Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania on the National Gateway. The National Gateway is a plan to create a more efficient rail route linking Mid-Atlantic ports with midwestern markets, improving the flow of rail traffic between these regions by increasing the use of double-stack trains. This public-private partnership will upgrade tracks, equipment and facilities, and provide clearance allowing double-stack intermodal trains.
The National Gateway proposes preparing three major rail corridors for double-stack clearance: I-95 corridor between North Carolina and Baltimore, MD, via Washington, DC; I-70/I-76 corridor between Washington, DC, and northwest Ohio via Pittsburgh, PA; and Carolina corridor between Wilmington, NC and Charlotte, NC. The result will be thousands of new jobs, improved railway reliability, and the diversion of heavy trucks from crowded highways leading to reduced emissions and highway maintenance costs and improved road safety.
Since the I-70/I-76 corridor between Washington, DC, and northwest Ohio is a highly traveled route, it is well-located to become an efficient link between the east coast and midwestern markets. Expansion of rail infrastructure in Columbus, OH, and North Baltimore, OH, will help alleviate some of the freight congestion in the Chicago, Cincinnati and Cleveland areas. The National Gateway project would build a new rail terminal in North Baltimore, OH, and expand intermodal capacity in Columbus, creating thousands of new jobs. I look forward to working with the Virginia, North Carolina, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania delegations to make this partnership a reality.