ACROSS MISSISSIPPI — Norfolk Southern’s Crescent Corridor Intermodal Freight Program of Projects has been awarded $105 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Program.
In Sept. 2009, lead state Pennsylvania, joined by Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and Virginia, submitted an application to USDOT for a $300-million TIGER grant to help improve Norfolk Southern’s rail lines and facilities between the Gulf Coast and the Northeast. Although the award represents a shortfall from the original TIGER request, it will enable Norfolk Southern and its partners to begin construction of several previously announced Crescent Corridor projects, while delaying other elements for later public-private partnerships.
The Crescent Corridor is an existing 2,500-mile rail network through 13 states from Louisiana to New Jersey that touches 26 percent of the nation’s population and 30 percent of the nation’s manufacturing output. When fully operational it will handle more rail freight traffic faster and more reliably, creating or benefiting some 73,000 green jobs by 2030, according to Norfolk Southern.
The Crescent Corridor program of projects is estimated to cost $2.5 billion for full development by 2020. Other Crescent Corridor projects currently planned for development include: new independent intermodal facilities at Birmingham, Ala., and Franklin County, Pa.; the expansion of intermodal terminals in Harrisburg and Philadelphia, Pa.; and, the addition of freight rail capacity in Virginia and Mississippi. In addition to facility investments, the program includes significant investments in rail route improvements consisting of additional passing tracks, double track projects, improved signaling systems and other track speed improvements.