Officials with the city and port of New Orleans formally accepted a nearly $17 million-dollar Transportation Department grant to build a specialized rail yard at the Napoleon Avenue container terminal.
Port President Gary LaGrange says it's a critical project needed for future growth.
"This will create a lot of construction jobs, a lot of permanent jobs. But more importantly what this project will allow us to do is get on to our next phase – a phase two of the expansion of the container terminal. That expansion of phase two of the container terminal will ready us for the opening of the Panama Canal on October 22nd of 2014."
The Transportation Department grant means the port will quadruple the traffic the terminal now handles. Containers will be able to move almost directly from ships to rail cars that connect with 134,000 miles of rail throughout the U.S. and Canada.