Friday, March 9, 2012

Port of West Sacramento Awarded Rail Grant

The Federal Railroad Administration has awarded a grant of about $960,000 to the Port of West Sacramento for construction of a rail loop track that the port says should increase freight capacity and handling efficiency.

“We’re excited to now be moving forward with this important rail project, which is another important step in further strengthening our role as a competitive Northern California goods-movement hub,” Mike McGowan, Chair of the Sacramento-Yolo Port Commission, said.

As designed, the rail loop project would enable train switching and storage operations to take place solely on port property, plus significantly reduce surface-street blockages by freight traffic.

The planned rail loop is one of the latest a series of development projects at the port. In January, West Sacramento opened a new 5,000-foot rail track extension that links the port’s Main Terminal with a nearby cement and aggregate facility.

And later this year, it expects to launch a new federal stimulus-funded marine highway container-barge service with the ports of Oakland and Stockton.

The port is one of 12 recipients sharing about $17 million in funding under the FRA’s Rail Line Relocation and Improvement grant program, which funds projects that reduce the adverse effects of rail infrastructure on safety, motor vehicle and pedestrian traffic, community quality of life, or economic development.

Funding for the grants is made available through annual appropriations and requires a 10 percent contribution from project sponsors.