TxDOT awarded $34 million for rail

| October 18, 2010

The U.S. Department of Transportation will award the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) $34 million grant to help fund a rail project pivotal to North Texas to support the Tower 55 Multimodal Improvement Project (T55MIP), a critical rail gateway located along a key transportation and trade corridor connecting Canada, Mexico and the United States.

“This project will dramatically improve freight and passenger traffic along one of North America’s most indispensible trade routes and will benefit all of those who live, work, and commute around Fort Worth,” U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, (R-Texas) says in a written statement. “I applaud the local officials and business leaders in North Texas who diligently pursued the funding necessary to bring this vital project to reality.”

In August, Sen. Cornyn sent a letter to the Department of Transportation in support of TxDOT’s application for the Tower 55 project, and the funding is awarded as part of the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) II program.

Located near downtown Fort Worth, Texas, Tower 55 is one of the busiest at-grade rail intersections in the nation where about 100 freight and passenger trains cross daily, including those operated by BNSF Railway Co. and Union Pacific Railroad. The project is designed to increase rail capacity at the intersection; improve safety via closed grade crossings, new pedestrian underpasses and better emergency vehicle access to local neighborhoods; and help expand commuter-rail service in Fort Worth. The award will bolster efforts to reduce traffic and freight congestion and improve the flow of goods and commerce, Cornyn says.

The full text of Sen. Cornyn’s letter is as follows:

August 17, 2010

Mr. Dana Gresham

Assistant Secretary for Government Affairs

Department of Transportation

1200 New Jersey Avenue, S.E.

Washington, District of Columbia 20590

Dear Assistant Secretary Gresham:

I am writing to express my strong support for the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) II grant application submitted to the Department of Transportation by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT).

As you and your staff review the proposal, I trust you will give full consideration to the many strengths of this application. As you know, TxDOT is requesting TIGER II funding to support the Tower 55 Multimodal Improvement Project (T55MIP). Tower 55 is a critically important freight and passenger rail gateway located along a key transportation and trade corridor connecting Canada, Mexico and the United States. Eleven major freight and passenger rail lines from across the country converge at Tower 55 into a single, four way at-grade intersection. More than 100 passenger and freight trains travel through the intersection on peak days, with over 200 million tons of freight moving through North American markets each year.

TXDOT, in partnership with BNSF Railway, Union Pacific Railroad, Amtrak, the City of Fort Worth, the North Central Texas Council of Governments, and the Fort Worth Transit Authority are working to complete the T55MIP. The project will address a number of challenges to enhance rail and motorist transportation flows through the Tower 55 intersection and surrounding corridors. TXDOT has made Tower 55 the highest priority infrastructure funding project in the state due to the positive impact it will have on job creation, reducing traffic and freight congestion and improving the flow of goods and commerce. As a result, I ask that you give this application every due consideration.

I would appreciate your efforts to ensure that I am kept informed as to the progress of this application. Please contact Andrew Blaylock, my Grants Coordinator, with any developments regarding this proposal as soon as they are available.

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