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30 Chapter 5 Overview of Preservation and Protection Strategies and Freight-Compatible Development This chapter provides an overview of freight preservation would otherwise not have adequate funding sources. On the and protection strategies, and then introduces the concept of maritime side, the designation of America's Marine Highway freight-compatible development and the tools for achieving it. Corridors by the secretary of transportation in 2010 was a The next four chapters--Chapters 6 through 9--provide major step toward integrating marine corridor options into detailed discussions of the four major tools for achieving the preexisting network of highway and rail corridors for freight-compatible development. serving freight. The private sector also has been involved in corridor delineation activities. For example, in late 2010, BNSF Examples of Freight Preservation announced its "Corridors of Commerce" initiative. The and Protection Strategies Corridors of Commerce--BNSF's TransCon, Great Northern, Given the critical role of freight transportation in the and Mid-Con routes--represent more than 11,000 miles of economy, preservation of freight facilities and corridors is the network and are estimated to reach over 94 million people extremely important. The loss of freight facilities, yards, and (BNSF Railroad 2010). other ancillary facilities that may serve the network can cre- ate bottlenecks, increase costs, and potentially affect consum- Freight Support and Preservation Initiatives ers through increased prices. Re-parceling lost corridors is often cost-prohibitive and can run up against community Neighborhood associations, chambers of commerce, and complaints. Preservation of freight facilities and corridors other freight groups have created initiatives to protect and can be achieved not only through long-range planning activi- enhance freight areas. Other groups also have come together ties, as described in the next chapter, but also through other to promote corridors and freight program initiatives. Three approaches, including delineation of corridors, freight sup- examples of freight support and preservation initiatives are port and preservation initiatives, maintenance activities, and Portland's Northwest Industrial Neighborhood Associa- purchase of corridors to preserve them for future freight use. tion (NINA), the North American Super Corridor Coalition (NASCO), and New York Shipping Association's Port Support Zone Initiative. Corridor Delineation NINA--NINA was created with a mission to protect and An important first step in freight preservation should be enhance the industrial business climate of Portland, Oregon's effective delineation of major freight corridors and associated northwest industrial district. NINA's main goals are to facilities. At the federal level, there have been a number of attempts to prioritize and promote corridors that are important · Ensure the integrity of GLIS; to freight. TEA-21 included the National Corridor Planning · Facilitate freight mobility for the benefit of industrial and Development Program, which made discretionary grants commerce; available for corridor feasibility, corridor planning, multi- · Ensure river access values; state coordination, environmental review, and construction. · Facilitate ease of business operations relative to city, This initiative was replaced in SAFETEA-LU by the Projects county, and state regulations; and of National and Regional Significance, which aimed at · Keep lines of communication open between members and funding projects that have potential national benefits but interested parties.
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31 NINA is discussed in more detail in the GLIS case study customer while segregating these industrial operations from in Appendix D available on CRP-CD-105 and on the TRB residential neighborhoods to improve quality of life and the website. environment. NASCO--NASCO was created in 1994 to address critical national and international trade, transportation, security, and Maintenance as a Means of Preservation environmental issues. Following the I-35 corridor through the central United States and into central and eastern Canada Maintenance of freight corridors is also a critical element and Mexico, the coalition covers a multimodal transportation in ensuring their continued viability. The Interstate Highway network that connects 71 million people and over $1 trillion System and state highway networks are maintained by indi- in commerce between the three nations. NASCO members vidual state departments of transportation, which are funded include cities, counties, states, provinces, and private-sector through federal and state gas taxes. Maintenance of the rail- participants from all three countries. road network is largely funded by the railroads that own the The North American Inland Port Network (NAIPN) is a facilities. Air cargo facilities, for the most part, are found in subcommittee created by NASCO to advocate for the interests the national airport system, and on-airport maintenance of inland ports (intermodal transportation facilities) along is funded by airport authorities and the local jurisdictions the corridor. NASCO also created a corridor-wide tri-national that often own them. Certain other activities, such as noise educational consortium during 2010 to further coordinate reduction program grants, are administered by FAA. The freight research activities along the corridor. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is responsible for Port Support Zone--The New York Shipping Association dredging and lock maintenance for the inland waterway created the Port Support Zone (also known as the Logistics system, Gulf Intercoastal Waterway, and U.S. ports. The port Support Zone) to protect, encourage, and develop off-port facilities themselves are maintained by the port authorities. facilities that provide truck parts as well as equipment main- Although maintenance is important for all modes, it is tenance and storage and in other ways help to enhance port particularly important for the preservation of marine trans- operations while reducing congestion, removing industrial/ portation. Two critical maintenance activities are dredging commercial operations from residential neighborhoods, and and lock maintenance. improving quality of life. The association collaborated with the Dredging refers to the artificial removal of sediment from Metropolitan Marine Maintenance Contractors Association, the bottom of a riverbed or other body of water, such as an as well as the State of New Jersey, City of Newark, and others, ocean floor. It is performed in order to temporarily deepen a to produce a development strategy that recognizes the criti- navigable body of water to allow a vessel to freely move without cal nature of the maritime facilities that serve the interests of damaging its keel. Sometimes dredging is used to correct urban areas. irregularities in the sea floor or riverbed to create a uniform The Port Support Zone provides a concentration of dedi- depth. To be successful, a dredging operation must remove cated areas within a 1- to 5-mile radius to conduct port-related the sediment and deposit it in an area that will not allow it operations that do not require pier access. Relocating activities to resettle at the bottom. The difficulty in removing dredge that do not contribute directly to vessel operations can result material depends on the type of sediment to be removed and in greater on-dock space to handle increased cargo volumes the depth at which the operation is occurring. Other factors without having to expand port land areas, reducing impacts influencing cost include environmental restrictions that impact on surrounding residential communities. Activities provided the rate at which sediment can be removed. Suction dredging within this area include container depots, overnight secure is typically the most economical dredge process. truck parks, remanufacturing and maintenance, surge capacity Dredging issues are a common point of contention in facilities, transload facilities, and heavyweight facilities. determining the optimal balance between freight and non- For example, secure truck parks equipped with electric freight uses of waterways. In general, dredging is split into the hitching posts for use by trucks and refrigerated units following two distinct types: are anticipated to dramatically reduce traffic, noise, and air pollution. By providing secure truck parks, the initiative · Capital (i.e., new work) dredging projects are projects in hopes to improve safety for local citizens, reduce truck travel, which a channel is being made deeper or wider. enhance security of cargo, and keep trucks off city streets and · Maintenance dredging refers to activity to maintain the out of residential areas, especially overnight. Freight logistics present authorized dimensions of a channel when siltation areas also are seen as a way to encourage development of has occurred. consolidated facilities for management of freight in a strictly controlled, geographically designated area. Again, the goal For a number of reasons, capital dredging projects are behind this was to enhance freight movement from port to more controversial than are maintenance dredging projects.
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32 One reason is that capital dredging is more costly due to Aggressive preventative modernization efforts could help the greater probability of encountering varied or rocky soil. to compensate for the inevitable deterioration that will Secondly, capital projects, particularly in the marine environ- occur on some parts of the waterway network. For example, ment, have the potential to disturb ecosystems that inhabit by taking advantage of stimulus funding, USACE made the the seafloor. Finally, capital dredging projects that deepen a strategic decision to shut down the Columbia River system in channel are sometimes seen as gateways for more intensive December 2010 to replace or repair all eight dams simultane- freight usage of an area. ously. This was to be the longest shutdown in the waterway's Finding suitable locations for dredge material disposal is history. The waterway was reopened to traffic in late March another pressing concern. This issue is particularly contro- 2011. As a result, this important marine highway corridor, versial when the dredged soil is contaminated and poten- which had been in danger of cascading failure, has been granted tially harmful to human health. Remote disposal of dredge a new life (Walla Walla Union Bulletin 2011). material can dramatically drive up the total cost of the dredging operation. Acquisition and Banking of Facilities USACE keeps detailed records on dredging projects and Corridors around the country and historical records going back to 1963 (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 2010a). The data show Preservation of freight facilities and corridors also can be the cost of maintenance dredging, in constant dollar terms, achieved through other mechanisms, including banking a has been increasing since 1990. This increasing cost trend facility for future use, or acquiring a facility that the current is illustrated in Figure 5-1. Thus, it is becoming consider- owner may no longer wish to hold. By far the most common ably more costly to maintain the existing system of dredged banking and acquisition process involving freight in the past channels in the United States. 30 years has been the purchase of abandoned railroad corridors The 1930s provided the most significant period of lock for other transportation uses or for "rails to trails." construction in the United States. Although many locks Many states have legislation that offers the right of first have been reconstructed or rehabilitated in the decades refusal for purchase of abandoned railroad corridors to the since, the lock infrastructure of the United States remains, state DOT and to the local jurisdictions that may want to on average, far older than that of the Interstate Highway partner with the DOT. North Carolina and Washington System. As a result, the maintenance required to keep the have particularly good statutory provisions for the purchase lock system functioning continues to grow. On the Ohio and preservation of abandoned corridors, along with corridor River system, more than 25 percent of locks have already permitting controls for development adjacent to railroad exceeded their design life. The percentage of locks that corridors. Washington also has a Freight Rail Assistance are beyond their design life requirements will surge in the Program, which can provide grants through the state DOT to coming decade. The problems associated with an aging lock support branch lines and light-density rail lines, provide or system are not limited to cost. Maintenance-related lock improve rail access, maintain adequate mainline capacity, and closings also impinge on the reliability of the waterway system preserve or restore rail corridors (Engrossed Substitute House from a shipper perspective, particularly when these shutdowns Bill [ESHB] 2878, Section 10, Chapter 121, laws of 2008). are unexpected. North Carolina funds freight rail purchases of abandoned Figure 5-1. Dredging costs per cubic yard of sediment removed (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 2010b).