WASHINGTON, D.C. – New federal resources will expand the Rickenbacker Intermodal Facility, creating jobs and opening central Ohio companies to new markets. U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) announced a $16 million federal grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to complete the East-West connector, improving the roadways around the intermodal facility and linking the facility to U.S. Route 23, Interstate 270, and Interstate 71. Brown worked with Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman, Nick Atkins of AEP, Columbus Partnership CEO Alex Fischer, and DOT Sec. Ray LaHood to move the project forward.
“This is great news. The East-West Connector serves as an important gateway for Ohio businesses to send and sell their goods domestically and internationally,” Brown said. “This public-private partnership will allow Ohio businesses to increase productivity, create jobs and boost our state’s economy. Greater Columbus is already a leader in logistics and this investment goes to show how federal resources can continue to help bring jobs to Ohio.”
The East-West Connector would accommodate the growing truck traffic, both today and with widening of the Panama Canal in 2015, and improve road access as freight container volumes increase in the Norfolk-Southern freight yard in Columbus. The $16,082,435 grant will update Duvall Road and Ashville Pike and upgrade two intersections so trucks can safely and efficiently reach U.S. Route 23 and then continue onto Interstate 270 and Interstate 71. The East-West Connector will become State Route 762. Brown wrote to and spoke with Sec. LaHood urging DOT to approve the project.
The Rickenbacker Intermodal Facility is a critical logistics center for Columbus and was completed in 2008. The facility transfers containers from trains to trucks and is an integral piece of the Heartland Corridor, linking the Midwest to deep-water ports in Norfolk, VA. According to the Columbus Partnership, the facility is projected to create 12,000 new jobs and pump $15.1 billion into Ohio’s economy over the next 30 years.
This project is funded by the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery Grant (TIGER) program, created through the Recovery Act. DOT received requests totaling more than $10 billion for the $500 million program. The program funds large-scale transit, road, bridge, freight rail, and multimodal projects. Ohio projects funded through TIGER include the North Baltimore intermodal yard, the Kent multimodal bus station, Cincinnati Streetcar, and Greater Cleveland Rapid Transit Agency.