Federal, state and local leaders joined construction crews to mark the beginning of the Port of Miami Intermodal and Rail Reconnection Project on Friday.
The $49 million railway is part of a larger project at the port. It will restore rail service between the port and the Florida East Coast Rail in Hialeah, which was suspended in 2005 after damage caused by Hurricane Wilma.
Reestablishing the link between the port and the Hialeah Intermodal Rail yard will provide direct cargo access to the national rail system instead of being completely dependent on trucks to transport cargo.
"The improvements we're making to the Port of Miami will benefit people and businesses across the Miami-Dade region and nationwide," said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood. "The Port of Miami is a vital part of our nation's economic growth and will be even more competitive in the global economy once it is fully restored."
The project, funded by the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant program, will help reduce greenhouse emissions by eliminating approximately 60,000 truck trips every year.
"I came here because we are the drum beat to get the congress to pass a transportation bill and why a transportation bill? Because a transportation bill is a jobs bill," LaHood said. “To many families are feeling the sting of unemployment. We are creating 822 jobs.”
Railroad worker Ricardo Pujol said the project will help people.
"It means a lot, it means jobs for people who have not had jobs before and it is good for the city," he said.