HR Green Helps Port Secures Coveted Grant for Rail Project
The Port of Corpus Christi Authority (POCCA) has received a $10 million federal grant toward its Nueces River Rail Yard Expansion project. The grant comes from the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program of the United States Department of Transportation.
The 2012 TIGER program will spread half a billion dollars among 47 projects in 34 states. That’s the smallest annual appropriation in the four-year history of the program, which was launched in 2009 with $1.5 billion available that year. Consequently, TIGER grant applications have become increasingly competitive since the program’s inception. This year’s successful application came on the fourth try for the Port of Corpus Christi.
For this year’s successful application, POCCA had help from consulting firm HR Green, Inc. During last year’s third (and unsuccessful) attempt, HR Green had helped to establish collaboration between the Port and the BNSF, UP, KCS and CCPN railroads to share the $7.85M balance of the $17.85M project. An innovative fee structure arrangement was created, allowing the Port to borrow money for the project, with the railroads paying off their portion through user fees. When the project did not receive TIGER funds in 2011, HR Green investigated to determine the federal rationale for grant rejection. In this year’s application, HR Green provided additional evidence for the project’s benefits to rail economics and greenhouse gas emissions. The result was a successful application for 2012.
The proposed improvements to the Port of Corpus Christi will expand switching capacity for the Port’s customers. The upgrades include the construction of a 7,800 foot unit train siding and an interchange yard along the north and far west side of the Port of Corpus Christi’s Inner Harbor. The new POCCA facilities will be situated along the Joe Fulton International Trade Corridor between mile posts 0 and 2, and just east of the Viola Turning Basin.
The proposed unit train siding will have the capacity to store a full 110 car unit grain train or a 130 car coal train. This is significant as it represents the only siding between the Port and the City of Odem, Texas which covers a distance of approximately 12 miles. The facility will be adjacent to the north side of the Fulton Lead and the proposed interchange yard.
The interchange yard will consist of four parallel ladder tracks ranging in from 3,370 feet (52 cars) to 4,260 feet (66 cars). This represents a total yard capacity of 15,870 feet and 252 total rail cars.