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U.S. Department of Transportation, Office of Public Affairs, Washington, D.C., www.dot.gov/affairs/briefing.htm - News

DOT 60-11
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Contact: Doug Hecox
Tel: 202-366-0660

Nation's Top Highway Official Helps Break Ground on Colton Crossing

Project will create jobs, improve safety, relieve congestion and spur economic growth

COLTON, Calif. - Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez today joined state and local officials to kick off construction on the Colton Crossing Rail-to-Rail Grade Separation Project, which will improve safety and freight movement through one of the nation's busiest rail crossings.

"The American Jobs Act will not only put people back to work and put more money in their pockets, but it will help southern California's economic recovery - like that of the nation - get back on track," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "We will not give up because we know that investing in our infrastructure will help strengthen our economy and create the jobs we need."

The $208 million rail-grade separation project will move two east-west tracks used by the Union Pacific Railroad over two north-south tracks used by the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad. The two lines have intersected each other for more than a century, which causes freight slowdowns for more than 135 trains daily and significant local noise and air quality issues for area residents. The new separation will improve public safety by preventing risk of train derailments to nearby homes and interstates.

The project received a $33.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program. When completed in 2014, the new crossing will help trains avoid slowing down or stopping for others to pass - shortening the time needed to move goods to and from the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

"Californians have waited 129 years for this project," said Administrator Mendez. "It is helping put people in Southern California back to work, stimulating the local economy and boosting the region's competitiveness by ending a major shipping bottleneck."

Shortly after it opened in 1882, Colton Crossing gained national notoriety as the site of one of the nation's largest "frog wars" - competition between railroad companies at such intersections, named for the "frog" - the piece of track that allows the two rail lines to cross.

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