Proponents of a proposed rail logistics center to be constructed on a former rail yard that spans the towns of Halfmoon and Stillwater and the City of Mechanicville, say it will bring several benefits to the municipalities, as well as the state.
In the face of skyrocketing fuel prices, a team of rail companies is getting together to provide freight service to the region.
We’re excited about it, said Halfmoon Town Supervisor Mindy Wormuth. `The opportunities for spin-off economic development are great.`
Wormuth said 90 percent of the actual construction would be in the Town of Halfmoon, and she hopes companies will want to locate near the rail yard.
`We’re focusing on the economic development piece,` Wormuth said.
She also said jobs at the warehouse will help the economy of the town.
Rail officials expect at least 40 jobs to be available at the opening of the rail center. They said that number would grow throughout the years of operation.
`I think from that sense it will be a big boost there,` Wormuth said.
While the benefits will outweigh the negatives, Wormuth said, the town is concerned with the light and noise pollution.
However, she said, the companies seem willing to work with the town to mitigate the light and noise and reduce pollution.
`As soaring energy costs have forced businesses to re-think how to transport consumer goods, the rail industry has once again become an increasingly viable and affordable option,` said Sen. Joseph Bruno, R-Brunswick, who secured state funding for the project. `Today’s announcement by Norfolk Southern and Pan Am Railways to invest in constructing a new facility in Southern Saratoga County is great news for the local economies in Mechanicville, Halfmoon and Stillwater.`
Bruno joined other local officials and representatives from Pan Am and Norfolk Southern to announce plans for the rail center Tuesday, July 8.
The rail yard, which will cost $40 million, is a joint venture between Pan Am Railways and Norfolk Southern. It will serve as the main hub for distribution along the Patriot Corridor, which is a 155- mile strip of high- speed freight rail running from Mechanicville to Ayer, Mass.
Of the $40 million, $3 million will come from the state.
`Pan Am Railways is pleased to partner with the state of New York, Saratoga County, and the towns of Mechanicville, Halfmoon, and Stillwater on this important regional transportation project,` said Pan Am Railways President David Fink. `This new terminal will add much-needed freight capacity to the Capital Region, and is critical to the success of our Pan Am Southern joint venture.`
The rail will carry automobiles and other consumer products.
The project is expected to receive federal approval in October and construction is set to begin in during the first quarter of 2009, and end by April 2010.
Norfolk Southern of Virginia operates 21,000 miles of track across 22 states and the District of Columbia, and serves every major container port in the eastern United States.
Pan Am of Boston maintains over 2,000 miles of track in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut, New York and Atlantic Canada according to a press release from Norfolk Southern.“