CSX Transportation said it will invest an additional $160 million over the next several years to complete the National Gateway between the mid-Atlantic and Midwest, bringing the project to the full funding needed to create a major double-stack intermodal corridor from the East Coast into the Midwest.
Most of the money will be used to expand and improve the century-old Virginia Avenue Tunnel in Washington, D.C., and provide stacktrain clearances in Maryland, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.
The National Gateway is a public-private partnership will clear 61 obstructions and build or expand six intermodal facilities along CSX's network in North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio and the District of Columbia. It will provide stacktrain service to ports in Baltimore, Virginia and Wilmington, Del.
Along with the Norfolk Southern Heartland Corridor path, the National Gateway is part of a broad upgrade in intermodal capabilities along the East Coast aimed at building up inland container transport capabilities in anticipation of the arrival of larger vessels through an expanded Panama Canal.
The CSX project will cost a total of $850 million. State and federal governments are providing $280 million.
CSX officials said at an event at the Port of Baltimore the added $42 million investment in the state would add 11 cities to the six markets that now can be served out of the port. "As much as we need the port, we need that National Gateway," Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley said.
CSX’s announcement came as CEO Michael Ward told an investor conference the railroad is targeting double-digit growth in operating income and earnings share through 2015, driven by growth in intermodal and coal traffic.