CSX Corp. has launched the National Gateway, a $700 million public-private infrastructure initiative to create a highly efficient, intermodal freight transportation link between the Mid-Atlantic ports and the Midwest.

When completed, the National Gateway would provide greater capacity for product shipments in and out of the Midwest, and reduce truck traffic on already crowded highways.

CSX has already committed $300 million to the National Gateway, and will work with several states and the federal government to secure additional funding.

The National Gateway incorporates two primary parts. First, CSX would build or expand several high-capacity, job-producing intermodal terminals where product shipments are exchanged between trucks and trains. At the same time, CSX would work together with state and federal government agencies to create double-stack clearances beneath public overpasses along the railroad. Double-stack clearances allow rail carriers to stack intermodal containers atop each other, enabling each train to carry about twice as many cargo boxes. Currently many overpasses only accommodate single-stack trains.

The National Gateway was launched at the offices of Pacer International, a CSX customer, in Dublin, Ohio. Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland has pledged to work with state and federal officials to support the initiative, which calls for two new intermodal terminals in Wood County and Columbus at a cost of $130 million to CSX.

The National Gateway will enhance three existing rail corridors that run through Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia:
• The I-70/I-76 Corridor between Washington, D.C. and northwest Ohio via Pittsburgh;
• The I-95 Corridor between North Carolina and Baltimore via Washington, D.C.;
• The Carolina Corridor between Wilmington and Charlotte, North Carolina.