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Pennsylvania’s Keystone Rail Corridor Receives $40 Million from USDOT.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today awarded a $40 million grant to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to eliminate delays in and out of Harrisburg on Amtrak’s Keystone Corridor. The project consists of replacing aging track and signals with modern technologies. The Department of Transportation had previously funded $23 million to the Keystone Corridor to improve safety and allow future train speeds to increase from 110 mph to 125 mph. The Keystone corridor operates between New York, Philadelphia and Harrisburg and is Amtrak’s fourth most heavily traveled route. Since train speeds along the route were increased to 110 mph in 2006, ridership has grown by more than 37 percent to 1,227,075 passengers in 2010.

MARAD Approves Title XI Loan Guarantee.

The Maritime Administration has approved a $346,129,000 Title XI guarantee to Vessel Management Services, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Crowley Holdings, Inc., for the construction of three 330,000 barrel double hull tug/barge units. VT Halter Marine, Inc. in Gulfport, Mississippi is constructing the barges and Dakota Creek Industries in Anacortes, Washington has been retained to build the tugs. The Title XI Loan Guarantee program provides funding to promote the growth and modernization of U.S. shipyards and the U.S. merchant marine.

MARAD Funded Mobile Ballast Water Testing Facility Begins Operations.

The Maritime Administration, along with the Maritime Environmental Resource Center and Maryland Port Administration, has dedicated a new facility to study the effectiveness of technology to treat invasive species in ballast water. The Mobile Test Platform is a retrofitted barge that will allow ballast water treatment systems to be evaluated in a natural setting at different locations in the Chesapeake Bay region. MARAD provided $1.2 million to help develop the new facility, which is able to test according to both IMO and US EPA Environmental Technology Verification protocols.

Friday, September 30, 2011