McDonnell Promotes Crescent Corridor

Brent Finnegan -- March 30th, 2010

Bob McDonnell was one of five governors to sign an open letter published in the Washington Post last week, requesting federal funding for a massive rail alternative that aims to reduce truck traffic on I-81.

As much as 40 percent of the traffic on Interstate 81 in Virginia is made up of trucks on a highway designed to carry no more than 15 percent truck traffic. And traffic on the increasingly congested road is projected to increase 67 percent over the next decade …

Our five states have joined together in a public-private partnership to apply for $300 million in federal funding to develop the [Crescent Corridor], which would dramatically increase rail capacity along the route and represent one of the largest additions of freight transportation capacity since the Interstate Highway System in 1956.

Norfolk Southern’s $2.5 billion east coast rail project is underway, and has already been awarded some federal stimulus money in certain states.

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6 Responses to “McDonnell Promotes Crescent Corridor”

  1. Tim says:

    Here’s to hoping this excellent idea becomes a reality.

  2. There’s that evil Stimulus again – paying for intermodal freight rail improvements, creating jobs and providing economic benefit to Americans.

  3. Lowell Fulk says:

    Socialism I tell you! They use a lot of trains in Europe too…

    Seriously though, I continue to be heartened by the infrastructure investments our President is making possible.

  4. JW says:

    A step in the right direction, but it might not change the truck traffic significantly on I-81.

    http://www.railsolution.org/uploads/PDF/Crescent_Corridor-Public_Perspective.pdf

  5. Thanks, JW.

    Here’s a few key selections from the PDF you linked to:

    Norfolk Southern has been weak and inconsistent in this area. Benefits have been robustly described but poorly quantified. Sources for numbers, such as truck diversions projected for individual states, have not been supported or shared …

    The projected truck diversion is unrealistic chiefly because the Crescent Corridor is focused on standard, double-stack intermodal handling of containers. This service model features vast, regional terminals with crane loading of containers into well cars, to accommodate the double stack clearances. Cost and time delays of the terminal operation require long rail hauls to recoup or amortize the delay in order to match truck travel times. The service can only be competitive on trips where truckers would have to stop overnight several times …

    A less than 17% reduction in trucking would not eliminate the need for economically and environmentally costly doubling of I-81 capacity in years ahead as embraced by Virginia Department of Transportation.

  6. That is a great explanation of an improved rail freight solution! This is going to directly impact the Valley, I-81 and the quality of life here. We should all know the details.

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