U.S. Transportation Secretary LaHood Obligates $10 million to Rebuild Rail Line Near Devil’s Lake, N.D. U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today awarded a $10 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) III Grant to North Dakota to help increase operating speeds, improve long-term reliability and lower maintenance costs for both freight and passenger service in the area. The 20-mile segment of track and two railroad bridges between Devils Lake and Church’s Ferry have been closed several times over the last few years due to the flooding. In 2009, the BNSF Railway began rerouting dozens of freight trains per day around this stretch of track due to the lake's rising waters. Amtrak operates its daily long-distance Empire Builder service along this route, which runs between Chicago and Seattle. The project will raise the track and bridges to help provide relief from flooding in the area, as well as perform other upgrades near Devil’s Lake needed to ensure the long-term viability of passenger train operations and freight movements along this route. Contact: Kevin Thompson (202) 493-6024.
BTS Releases 2012 Border Crossing and Entry Data. There were 10.7 million commercial truck crossings into the United States from Canada and Mexico in 2012, a 3.6 percent increase from 2011, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), a part of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration. That 2012 increase follows a 1.7 percent rise from 2010 to 2011 after four years of decline from 2005 to 2009, a period which includes the recent recession. The truck-crossing numbers are included in the 2012 border-crossing data posted today on the BTS website. The collection of border-crossing data began in response to the implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1994. The data allow tracking of cross-border traffic and are used for transportation planning, port studies, travel analyses, and corridor assessments. The database also includes numbers of incoming trains, buses, containers, personal vehicles, and pedestrians entering the United States through land ports and ferry crossings on the U.S.-Canada and U.S.-Mexico border. The database shows that 156 million people crossed into the U.S. from Mexico in personal vehicles or as pedestrians in 2012, a 3.5 percent increase from 2011. In addition, 62.4 million people entered the U.S. from Canada in personal vehicles or as pedestrians in 2012, a 4.7 percent increase from 2011. Border crossing and entry data from 1995 to 2012 can be found on the BTS website. Contact: Dave Smallen: 202-366-5568.