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Public Invited to Attend April Workshops in Beltsville, Hanover and Elkridge
HANOVER, MD (March 24, 2011) -- As part of the initial planning toward the development of a new rail intermodal facility in Maryland, the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT), together with CSX Transportation, Inc. and its affiliates (CSX), will conduct public workshops in central Maryland beginning next month. The public workshops will provide the public with an opportunity to be briefed on the vision for a proposed Baltimore-Washington Rail Intermodal Facility that will allow the transfer of freight trailers and containers between trains and trucks at one location. Construction of a modern, environmentally-sensitive transfer facility is critical to the future of the State’s economy, its ability to compete in the global marketplace and the need to create and support good-paying jobs.
“The low-clearance of the Howard Street tunnel in Baltimore City does not provide freight railroads with the ‘double stack’ capability that is so critical to compete in today’s business environment,” said Maryland Transportation Secretary Beverley K. Swaim-Staley. “By creating a new transfer facility at an appropriate industrial site south of Baltimore along the I-95 corridor, new doors of commerce will open for Maryland that will benefit the Port of Baltimore, the State’s economy and the thousands of jobs in our state that rely on a vibrant freight industry.”
“CSX and the State of Maryland are committed to the development of a world-class facility that is sensitive to both the surrounding communities and the environment,” said Louis Renjel, CSX’s vice president-Strategic Infrastructure Initiatives. “With the planned workshops we are initiating a public dialogue that will assist us in identifying the best location to develop the facility.”
Earlier this month, representatives from both MDOT and CSX met with the Federal Railroad Administration to determine the appropriate criteria to be used to identify candidate sites for such a facility in this region. Based on these discussions, four candidate sites were identified for further consideration under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). They include:
The site acquisition process is in the early stages. Contact with some property owners has already been made while others will be contacted in the coming weeks. The necessary property will need to be assembled and zoning approvals, as appropriate, will need to be obtained.
The April workshops are the first step in an open and transparent public process that will be governed by NEPA. Information on the candidate sites and the evaluation process can also be found on a new website at www.intermodal.maryland.gov. The workshops will be held at three locations to discuss with the public the operational and safety criteria required for a rail intermodal facility, the NEPA process and other relevant information about the project.
The workshops will be held:
At all of the workshops, display areas will be set up explaining what a rail intermodal facility is, how it operates, and how it will benefit the region. MDOT and CSX representatives will be available to discuss project issues and answer questions.
This week, direct mail notices on the workshops will be sent to residents and businesses near the four candidate sites. Early next month, a newsletter also will be mailed to residents and businesses containing additional information on the four candidate sites and the evaluation process. Anyone interested in receiving mailings, newsletters or e-mail updates regarding the Baltimore-Washington Rail Intermodal Facility may register on the project website located at www.intermodal.maryland.gov.
Jack Cahalan, MDOT, 410-865-1025
Robert Sullivan, CSX, 877-835-5279