Rail freight project touts environmental benefits

Dec. 2, 2009
A multi-state freight rail project is promoting its ability to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and fuel consumption as it seeks to build support for the hundreds of millions of dollars it needs to cover infrastructure investment costs

A multi-state freight rail project is promoting its ability to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and fuel consumption as it seeks to build support for the hundreds of millions of dollars it needs to cover infrastructure investment costs.

The National Gateway, a multi-state public-private partnership that aims to forge a new freight rail route between Mid-Atlantic ports and Midwestern markets, claims that clearing existing rail routes for double-stack freight trains would convert over 14 billion highway miles to rail-- and so reduce CO2 emissions by almost 20 million tons and fuel consumption by nearly 2 billion gallons.

The group plans to invest over $840 million to increase tunnel clearances, raise bridges and develop new intermodal terminals along existing rail corridors to support the movement of double-stacked rail containers.

To date, however, the project has received just $393 million in commitments from railroad CSX Corp. and its affiliates. State governments are currently expected to provide a further $191 million in funding and an additional $258 million will be requested from the federal government to fully cover the cost of the project.

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