The Iowa Department of Transportation (Iowa DOT) has been awarded $25.65 million from the FASTLANE grant program to build an intermodal transportation facility in Cedar Rapids. The total project cost is estimated at $46.5 million, and the remainder of the funds will come from the private sector led by Alliant Energy Transportation.
“The facility directly aligns with the highest priority strategy set forth in Iowa’s recently developed State Freight Plan,” says Iowa DOT Director Paul Trombino III. “The facility will optimize the freight transportation network, minimizing costs and travel time and improving supply chain efficiency. This will enhance the state’s economic development efforts, something we’ve been working on in conjunction with the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA).”
Officials say that despite being located between the “freight centers” of Chicago, Kansas City and Minneapolis, Iowa “lacks adequate intermodal service” that helps to transition freight between different transportation modes.
The new facility will include a container intermodal terminal, a rail-to-truck transload facility for bulk commodities, a cross-dock facility for consolidating and redistributing truck loads and loading and unloading containers.
“It will provide Iowa and surrounding states with access to a high capacity, efficient, and cost-competitive facility to move goods from truck to rail and vice versa, generating significant mobility, reliability, and economic outcomes,” Iowa DOT says.
Next steps for the project include negotiating a grant agreement between the project partners and the U.S. Department of Transportation, and project construction is estimated to begin next spring.
“This high capacity, efficient and cost-competitive facility will provide farmers and businesses in our state additional resources to move our Iowa goods from truck to rail and vice versa,” says Gov. Terry Branstad.
“This statewide initiative will provide long-term benefits to eastern Iowa. As a first-of-its-kind facility, it will serve an unmet need for cross-dock, transload and intermodal services,” says Alliant Energy Transportation President, Kevin Burke.
The FASTLANE (Fostering Advancement in Shipping and Transportation for the Long-term Achievement of National Efficiencies) program was made possible by a provision in the FAST Act called the Nationally Significant Freight and Highway Projects program. This is designed to fund both small and large projects based on size and meeting certain requirements, and is authorized for $4.5 billion through 2020.