Corpus Christi, TX – The United States Department of Transportation announced today the recipients of the 2012 Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Grant. The TIGER 2012 Discretionary Grants Program provided $500 Million for infrastructure investments; of that, the Port of Corpus Christi received $10 million for its Nueces River Rail Yard project. “The TIGER grant funding for the Port of Corpus Christi will make it possible to improve rail operations and overall efficiency. The Port is an important multimodal hub for the region and the U.S. military. This upgrade will significantly expand capacity and represents needed economic development. I supported this effort from the beginning and I want to congratulate everyone involved in making a strong case for this project,” said U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison.
The Nueces River Yard is located at the far western end of the Inner Harbor, near Suntide Road, and will be the Port’s new Main Interchange Rail Yard. It will greatly improve the rail infrastructure and transportation network in and out of the port and has the support of the three Class 1 railroads—the Union Pacific, BNSF, and KCS—that serve this region, as well as Genesee & Wyoming, the local operating railroad company. The three Class I railroads will deliver railcars to the New Main Interchange Yard, and Genesse & Wyoming will pickup and deliver railcars to local industries. The total cost of the project is $17 million. The Port will fund the remaining $7 million and recover half of that cost from the railroads through a special surcharge. “The TIGER grant completes a win-win public private partnership to improve rail infrastructure supporting customer growth and job creation,” said Joe Adams, Vice President of Public Affairs for Union Pacific's Southern Region.
The need for this new Main Interchange Rail Yard became increasingly important with the substantial growth in rail traffic at the port over the last five years. Historically, the Port received between 10,000 and 15,000 railcars every year. Since 2007, with the privatization of the Port’s grain elevator, completion of the Fulton Corridor, and the Eagle Ford shale discovery, the Port has seen its railcar volume dramatically increase to 32,000 railcars in 2011. New projects are expected to increase this volume even more. “This critical piece of supply chain infrastructure will benefit not just the Port and South Texas, but agriculture, energy, and industrial producers and consumers along BNSF’s MidCon Corridor from Texas to the Canadian border,” said Matthew K. Rose, BNSF’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “The billions in capital investments private freight railroads such as BNSF are already making in US rail infrastructure combined with public investments such as these will expand capacity to move more freight, more efficiently by rail to keep American businesses competitive in world markets.”
U.S. Congressman Blake Farenthold said “Ports are critical links to our nation’s trading partners and their infrastructure investment needs should be a primary focus within our nation’s transportation plan. Expansion of the rail yard at the Port of Corpus Christi brings jobs and economic growth to South Texas. Our port, serviced by multiple rail lines and good highway infrastructure, is poised to capitalize on increased trade from the Eagle Ford Shale and expansion of the Panama Canal.”
The Nueces River Rail Yard is the most important project in the Port’s Rail Master Plan. The New Main Interchange Yard will consist of one 7,800-foot track capable of storing a 110-car unit train and four parallel storage tracks containing 15,100 feet of track and capable of storing an additional 252 railcars. A 16-foot wide service road will run the full length of the yard and a 750-foot service track will be constructed for locomotives awaiting outbound trains. “Countless industries rely on the Port of Corpus Christi to provide for the efficient transportation of commodities and goods, and the new rail capacity made possible by this TIGER grant will support the port’s continued importance and create jobs today and long into the future. I am grateful to U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood for recognizing the unique needs and opportunities of Corpus Christi, and I look forward to seeing how the Port will leverage this federal funding to promote the area’s economic growth, create jobs and keep Texas’ economy strong,” said U.S. Congressman Henry Cuellar.
The need for a new Main Interchange Rail Yard is paramount to the Port’s growth and will greatly improve the efficiency of existing cargo movements at the Port’s multimodal facilities, including the grain elevators that support the country’s agricultural community, the wind turbine equipment industry that support the country’s goal toward energy independence, and the dry and liquid bulk material trade that is so vital to the region’s petrochemical industry. The Port is also designated as a strategic military deployment port and frequently moves shipments of military equipment by rail to and from the forts and overseas installations. “We are very excited about the news. It is providing us with the green light to move forward with another important infrastructure project for the port. With this new rail infrastructure, the Port can expand into new growth markets such as export of metallurgical and thermal coals, increase the supply of FracSand for Eagle Ford Shale as well as crude shipments into the region,” said Mike Carrell, Chairman of the Port Commission.
About Port Corpus Christi
As the primary economic engine of the Coastal Bend, Port Corpus Christi is the fifth largest port in the United States in total tonnage. The Port’s mission is to “serve as a regional economic development catalyst while protecting and enhancing its existing industrial base and simultaneously working to diversify its international maritime cargo business.” Strategically located on the western Gulf of Mexico, with a straight 45’ deep channel, (permitted and authorized to 52’) the Port provides quick access to the Gulf and the entire United States inland waterway system. The Port delivers outstanding access to overland transportation with on-site and direct connections to three Class-1 railroads and uncongested interstate and state highways. The Port is protected by a state-of-the-art security department and an award-winning Environmental Management System. With outstanding management and operations staff, Port Corpus Christi is clearly “More Than You Can Sea.”