Railroad News

From 'if/then' to unconditional (Pat Foran, Context, November 2009)

The conditional tense reigned supreme during the reporting of a number of stories in this month's issue — from the cover piece on Norfolk Southern Railway's $2.5 billion Crescent Corridor, which the Class I plans to establish via the public-private partnership route ("If funding falls into place, then the 2,500-mile domestic intermodal corridor will, too.") to our RailTrends summit recap ("If railroads can hold off the D.C. threats while embracing the D.C. opportunities, productivity and earnings growth will be explosive, and marketshare opportunities in medium and short lengths of haul will be dramatic.") to our rail-car repair market update. The latter story's slant: If the economy picks up, so will repair work.

A lot of the "if/then" talk is tied to economic recovery, whenever and however it'll begin its creep, but not all of it. Every railroad seeking a public funding commitment of any kind is having conditional conversations with the governmental powers that be and, increasingly, the communities they serve: "If you fund this project, XYZ benefits will come."

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If funding falls into place, so will Norfolk Southern's Crescent Corridor

by Jeff Stagl, managing editor

For more than a decade, the commonwealth of Virginia has sought to add lanes to Interstate 81 to relieve heavy truck congestion. The 846-mile highway stretches 323 miles in Virginia — the longest I-81 segment in any state.

Virginia most recently considered a plan to add two lanes to the interstate commonwealth-wide. To be funded by tolls, the project would cost about $13 billion over 20 years.

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