FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: May 13, 2008
CONTACT: Stu Nicholson
Commissioners Approve Several Local Projects
Hundreds of New Jobs Created With Rail Assistance
(Columbus) -- Several hundred jobs in Ohio will be made possible with the approval of five projects by the Ohio Rail Development Commission at their May meeting.
- Buckeye Industrial Mining Transload Facility (Wellsville /Jefferson County): a $200,000 grant will match company funds to purchase rail loading / unloading conveyors and other equipment for a new bulk trans-load and coal blending facility. The $15-million project will create 115 new jobs at the facility itself and another 40 new coal mining jobs at mines in a four-county area. It is projected that 35,000 new carloads will be handled at the facility. It will also supply blended, cleaned coal to Ohio industries to enable them to comply with air quality standards and preserve existing business and jobs.
- US Rail/City of Jackson Rail Rehabilitation (Jackson, Ohio): a $350,000 grant and $350,000 loan package to rehabilitate the city-owned rail line operated by US Rail. The project will include replacing a portion of the 8,500 ties and 13,000 tons of ballast needed to upgrade track conditions to handle heavier loads safely and efficiently. This project will also enable the City to attract new shippers to the line. Already, a major silica producer (Ohio Basic Mineral) is planning a facility that could create up to 45 new jobs and generate over 1,000 annual carloads.
- Appleton Papers Rail Spur (West Carrollton / Montgomery County): a $50,000 grant to defray costs of a rail spur as part of a $100-million dollars expansion project at Appleton Papers facility. Along with other funding and assistance from the Ohio Department of Development, the funding package helped convince the company to stay in Ohio, thus preserving 390 jobs, creating 35 new jobs and an additional 150 to 350 new carloads of freight.
- Hydrodec North America LLC (Canton / Stark County): $75,000 grant to help purchase a “trackmobile” (enables freight cars to be moved without using a locomotive) for Hydrodec’s new refinery at Canton. The funds will help in the creation of 65 new jobs at an average $33 per hour wage. It also helps in the re-development a “brownfield” site. The project is expected to produce 200 to 600 new annual carloads of freight.
- Lancaster Port Authority (Lancaster / Fairfield County): ORDC grant of $90,000 with a matching ODOD grant of $90,000 and $420,000 from the Lancaster Port Authority to help pay for a 1,600-foot rail spur to serve the new US Corrugated plant at Lancaster. Rail is a key element of this project since the company needs to bring in large rolls of paper for its production operations. A total of 110 new jobs will be created and 200 to 500 annual carloads of new freight traffic will be generated for the short line Indiana & Ohio Railroad.
(NOTE: On average, each carload of freight translates to up to 3 truckloads off of local highways.)
Commissioners were also given a detailed briefing on the newly-proposed “National Gateway” project from the CSX railroad. CSX Vice-President Lisa Mancini delivered the briefing and outlined the impact of the project on Ohio, which includes major rail infrastructure improvements across North Central Ohio as well as a proposed new intermodal yard at the current CSX facility in South Columbus that would connect with the upgraded East-West National Gateway corridor.
ORDC Executive Director Matt Dietrich also updated Commissioners on the progress being made on Governor Ted Strickland’s request for Amtrak to restore passenger service to the Cleveland-Columbus-Cincinnati (3-C) Corridor. The Governor made the request to Amtrak CEO Alex Kummant in a February letter. Dietrich told Commissioners that ORDC staff is already working with Amtrak staff on the details and expectation for a Ridership & Revenue assessment of the corridor.
ORDC staff will also do an alternatives analysis to determine the most direct route that reaches the most population in the most cost-efficient manner, according to Dietrich. Dietrich also told Commissioners that Amtrak will begin its work in mid to late summer of this year and that Amtrak expects to take 12 to 18 months to finish and present its findings.
(The Ohio Rail Development Commission is an independent agency operating within the Ohio Department of Transportation. ORDC is responsible for economic development through the improvement and expansion of passenger and freight rail services and railroad grade crossing safety. For more information about what ORDC does for Ohio, visit our website at http://www.dot.state.oh.us/ohiorail/)