Digest: Port of New Orleans to buy land for new container terminal

News Wire Digest second section for Dec. 21: Sault Ste. Marie officials say they're confident Agawa Canyon train will continue running; FTA awards infrastructure funding for five rail projects
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More Monday morning rail news:

Port of New Orleans approves land purchase for container expansion

The Port of New Orleans board has approved the purchase of land for a second container ship terminal, a $1.5 billion project adjacent to the privately managed St. Bernard Port. NOLA.com reports the land purchase is to be completed by the end of the year and begins a two-year period to assess the project, its environmental impact, and public response. It comes as the port, dominant among U.S. ports in bulk cargo, loses ground to other Gulf Coast rivals in container traffic. The port is served by six Class I railroads (all but Canadian Pacific) via its short line, the New Orleans Public Belt.

Sault Ste. Marie officials confident Agata Canyon train will continue
Sault Ste. Marie officials say they’re confident the Agawa Canyon Tourist Train will operate next year whether or not Canadian National sells the Algoma Central Railway. SooToday.com reports that CN spokesman Mathiew Gaudreault confirmed the pending sale, first reported by Northern Ontario newspaper the Manitoulin Expositor [see “Report: CN to sell Algoma Central Railway,” Trains News Wire, Dec. 18, 2020]. Sault Ste. Marie Mayor Christian Provenzano told the news site the city was made aware of the sale beforehand and has been “in constant communication with CN and the investment bank hired to market the asset. We are confident that if we stay engaged and continue to stress the importance of the tour train to our community and Ontario’s tourism industry, that the end result of the process can be positive.” The official who oversees tourism efforts, Tom Vair, said CN is continuing its preparations to run the train, and that the city anticipates “the train is going to be running next year, either with CN or a new owner.”

FTA awards funds for five rail infrastructure projects
The Federal Transit Administration has awarded a total of $544.3 million for seven transit infrastructure projects, five of which are rail-related, under its Capital Investment Grants program. Rail projects receiving funding are:

— Bay Area Rapid Transit, $250.7 million for the Transbay Corridor Core Capacity project;

— Twin Cities Metro Transit, $100 million for the Minneapolis Southwest Light Rail Project;

— The Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District, $49.4 million for the South Shore Line’s Double Track project;

— Valley Metro of Phoenix, Ariz., $49.4 for the Northwest Extension Phase II light rail project;

— KC Streetcar (Kansas City, Mo.), $49.2 million for the Main Street Extension project.

Bus rapid transit projects in Raleigh, N.C., and Ogden, Utah, also received funding. More details are available here.

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