Commissioners at the Port of Corpus Christi in Texas have approved a grant agreement to expand rail service at the port with a new rail yard. The project is made possible in part by a $10 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant, awarded to Corpus Christi in June, 2012. The TIGER grant program is part of the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) commitment to fund projects that have significant impacts nationally and locally.
The grant will fund Phase I construction of the Nueces River Rail Yard, which will have capacity for 335 rail cars. The expanded capacity will help the port meet its new shipping demands from recent growth in project cargo shipping for major wind power components. The project is projected to “reduce carbon emissions by about 398,000 tons and save $7.4 million in highway maintenance costs by eliminating 678,000 truck trips during the next 30 years, according to a transportation department fact sheet.”
Mike Carrell, Port Corpus Christi Commission chairman, spoke on what the TIGER grant means to the area:
The expansion of the port’s rail capabilities is an important logistics project critical to the port’s strategic diversification efforts. The U.S. Department of Transportation recognized our need for rail improvement and awarded the port with resources from TIGER grant funds to move forward with the construction of the new rail yard. The Nueces Rail Yard will support the growth of movement of goods capabilities in and out of the port.
Corpus Christi will provide the remaining funding for the projected $18 million project. The project’s construction planning is almost complete, and bidding will begin later this month.
The Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, or TIGER Discretionary Grant program, provides a unique opportunity for the U.S. Department of Transportation to invest in road, rail, transit and port projects that promise to achieve critical national objectives. The TIGER program is part of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, a collaboration between the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), DOT, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).