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Nov.16, 2015

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GOVERNMENT WATCH INTERNATIONAL | WASHINGTON | CUSTOMS | SECURITY | REGULATION 16 THE JOURNAL OF COMMERCE NOVEMBER 16.2015 By Dustin Braden U.S. INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS focused on improving freight movement got more backing from the federal government in the latest round of a popular grant program. About 44 percent of the $500 million in grants awarded through the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery program, known as TIGER, went to freight projects, compared with about a third in the 2014 round, according to an analysis by the Coalition for America's Gateways and Trade Corridors, a Washington-based group rep- resenting freight interests. The program helps local projects gain a base sum needed to attract funding from private and other project sources. The $220 million in grants for freight projects in 22 states in this, the seventh round of funding, will support $501.5 million in total invest- ment. "The increased share of freight project awards in this round of the TIGER program points to the large and growing need for a freight-specific competitive grant approach that complements existing programs, such as TIGER," Elaine Nessle, executive director at the CAGTC, told The Journal of Commerce. The coalition, she said, has long pushed for a freight-focused grant program, a call now being made by the Obama administra- tion and Congress. In the meantime, the level of TIGER funding for the next round is uncertain, with a proposed Senate bill calling for $500 million and the House having passed a bill setting levels at only $100 million. Most of the freight projects in this round of funding are for rail or road infrastructure, with only five port-related projects winning funds totaling $44.3 million, according to the American Association of Port Authori- ties. The largest U.S. port lobby group wants a quarter of funding to go toward port- related projects. Seven ports received a total of $73 mil- lion, or approximately 15 percent of the total funding awarded. The port projects receiving grants are: l THE PORT OF INDIANA was awarded $10 million toward a $17 million project to construct a double rail loop, a truck-to-rail intermodal facility, a rail-to-barge transfer system and a rail siding extension that will allow the port to receive 90-car trains. l BALTIMORE will receive $10 million toward $27.5 million in road improvements and a bridge replacement that will enable direct access to Interstate 95. l SAN DIEGO'S TENTH AVENUE MARINE TERMINAL will get $10 million for on-dock rail improvements and the removal of obso- lete storage facilities that will cost a total of $22.1 million. l CALIFORNIA'S PORT OF HUENEME was awarded $12.3 million for a $24.5 million project to deepen its harbor and strengthen its quay as well as extend on-dock rail and modernize cargo-handling equipment. l TH E PO RT O F N E WPO RT, O REGO N , will receive $2 million toward $6.5 million needed for a deep-sea terminal with inter- modal access. A number of rail projects won funding from this round of TIGER grants, but the most concentrated impact will be northern New England, with Maine and Vermont com- ing away with funding to improve rail freight movement. l MAINE received $20 million for the $37.3 million rehabilitation of 380 miles of track throughout the state, eliminating long-time bottlenecks and improving reli- ability and speeds. The rehabilitation works include new ties, rails, and surfacing in addi- tion to new yard tracks and more efficient configurations. When completed, timetable speeds will be no lower than 25 mph. l VERMONT will get $10 million toward the $26.5 million cost of refurbishing 11 miles of track with new rail, ballast and ties between Rutland and Burlington, Vermont. New passing sidings, lanes and crossovers will reduce friction between freight and rail trains and could allow freight trains to reach 40 mph while providing further savings by lowering maintenance costs. l LA JUNTA, COLORADO, received $15.2 mil- lion toward the $24.4 million needed for BNSF Railway to add 39 miles of new rail and to repair more than 20 miles of roadbed. Work on this project began in 2014 after the railroad received funding from the sixth round of the TIGER program. l CHARLOTTE , NORTH CAROLINA , will benefit from $25 million toward $51.6 mil- lion in improvements and construction for bridges, tracks and signals that will reduce conflict between Norfolk Southern freight trains and passenger rail. l SOUTH DAKOTA RAIL will get a boost from $6 million of the $12.4 million in funding needed for new rails and ties that will allow trains to reach up to 40 mph in locations they are now limited to 10 mph. These improve- A BIGGER TIGER BITE Freight projects on land and seaside snagged 44 percent of grants in the latest round of the infrastructure program The coalition has long pushed for a freight-focused grant program.

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