U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood joined federal, state and local leaders today to break ground on the Port of Miami Intermodal and Rail Reconnection Project. The $49 million project received $22 million in 2010 from the Department’s TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grant program.
The grant will help pay for the restoration of rail service between the port and the Florida East Coast Rail Yard in Hialeah, Fl., which was suspended in 2005 following damage to the rail bridge during Hurricane Wilma. The rail reconnection project is part of a larger investment program taking place at the Port of Miami. The Miami Access Tunnel and the 50-foot dredge project will allow the Port of Miami to benefit from the Panama Canal expansion in late 2014.
“The improvements we're making to the Port of Miami will benefit people and businesses across the Miami-Dade region and nationwide,” said Secretary LaHood. “The Port of Miami is a vital part of our nation’s economic growth and will be even more competitive in the global economy once it is fully restored.”
The restored rail service will link the port with the Hialeah Intermodal Rail yard, and from there will provide direct cargo access to the national rail system. Currently, the port is completely dependent on trucks to transport containers to three primary distribution centers.
“This project is a win for everyone,” said U.S. Maritime Administrator David Matsuda, “Businesses will get the goods much faster and fewer trucks on the already congested roads will mean drivers in Miami will spend less time stuck in traffic.”
The project will also help reduce greenhouse emissions by eliminating approximately 60,000 fewer truck trips every year between the port and the Florida East Coast Railway’s (FEC) Hialeah intermodal rail yard. A total of 400,000 truck trips are expected to be eliminated annually from the road within eight years of completing the project.