HARRISBURG, Pa. – Gov. Edward G. Rendell has announced the investment of $2.6 million in 14 rail-freight projects across Pennsylvania.
The projects are geared to preserve essential rail freight service in some areas, while stimulating economic development by generating new service in others, Rendell said in a news release. The investments represent the second phase of the 2006 Rail Freight Assistance Program (RFAP).
“Investments in rail freight help fuel our ongoing economic recovery,” said Rendell, who this year increased the RFAP program from $8.5 million to $10.5 million. “Rail is an increasingly popular means of moving goods, not only throughout Pennsylvania, but into the global marketplace. These grants will boost the local economy and job markets, complimenting our investments in the education and the environment that are making Pennsylvania an even better place to live and work.”
Through the state’s investment in these projects, 157 jobs will be created and 2,767 jobs will be maintained. Without this rail service, there would be 211,067 more truck trips on Pennsylvania’s highways each year.
C/G Electrodes LLC in St. Marys is an example of the relationship between expanded rail service and new economic development opportunities, officials note.
The company manufactures UHP graphite electrodes used in steel production. The company was formed in 2003 by acquiring the former CGGI St. Marys’ Plant, as well as selected assets from a Niagara Falls Plant. A $150,516 RFAP award will support track improvements that will help the company expand its business and 30 new jobs in the St. Marys’ Enterprise Zone.
Another example is anew facility that Pennsylvania Biodiesel, Inc. is constructing in Potter Township, Beaver County. A rail siding will allow this new company to ship soybean oil into the building for the production of bio- diesel. As a result, this start-up company will hire 40 new workers. An RFAP award of $100,000 will support this Governor’s Action Team project, which aligns with the Governor’s PennFuels Initiative to offset demand for imported petroleum products.
Lebanon Valley Economic Development Corporation will receive $123,060 that will be used to reconstruct track into the former North American Refractory Building, a brownfield location in Newmanstown. The project will enable Seven D, a building products firm, to connect with Norfolk Southern’s Harrisburg Mainline, importing building materials and distributing them in the area. The new business will create 25 new jobs and reduce their number of truck trips by 2,133 per year.
In October, Governor Rendell announced a $20 million investment in Capital Budget rail-freight grants, which are funded by bonds and administered by PennDOT’s Bureau of Rail Freight, Ports & Waterways. The RFAP program is supported by the General Fund. Pennsylvania leads the nation with 65 operating railroads and ranks fifth in the nation with over 5,000 track miles.
Here is a rundown of the projects that will receive funding:
Allegheny and Washington counties: Pittsburgh & Ohio Central Railroad, Inc. will receive $750,000 for the rehabilitation of 16 miles of track on the Arden Branch to allow for more efficient and safe rail operations. The completed project will help create 10 jobs, maintain 41 jobs and help reduce the number of truck trips that would have been required by 3,560 trips annually.
Beaver County: Colona Transfer will receive $368,200 for the rehabilitation of track within the company’s Monaca facility which will help to maintain safe operations and ensure a continuous flow of low sulfur coal from the western U.S. The completed project will help create 8 jobs, maintain 30 jobs and reduce the number of truck trips by 164,400 per year.
Pennsylvania Biodiesel, Inc. will receive $100,000 for the construction of a rail siding at this new biodiesel facility to allow the company to be rail served. The completed project will help create 40 jobs, maintain 3 jobs and reduce the number of truck trips that would have been required by 733 trips per year.
Carbon and Schuylkill counties: Carbon County Railroad Commission will receive $197,512 for the rehabilitation of 18 miles of mainline track and the Hometown High Bridge which is the link between this line and the Reading Blue Mountain and Northern Railroad’s Reading Division. The completed project will help maintain 500 jobs and reduce the number of truck trips by 2,616 trips annually.
Crawford County: Western New York & Pennsylvania Railroad Co. will receive $85,400 for the construction of a new runaround track to allow the railroad to improve rail service to the Lord Corporation and eliminate an eight-mile reverse move for the railroad. When completed this project will help maintain 250 jobs and reduce the number of truck trips by 9,167 annually.
Elk County: B or P Realty will receive $100,000 for the construction of a runaround track and a loading/unloading facility to serve a new warehouse distribution facility on the Allegheny & Eastern Railroad. The completed project will help create 2 jobs, maintain 2 jobs and reduce the number of truck trips by 1,133 per year. Also, C/G Electrodes, LLC will receive $150,516 for the rehabilitation of a rail spur to accommodate rail shipments of inbound raw materials and outbound finished products. Completion of this project will help create 30 jobs, maintain 150 jobs and reduce the number of truck trips by 139 per year.
Lancaster County: L&S Sweeteners will receive $100,000 for the expansion of the rail yard at L&S’ facility to allow for increased rail car storage capacity and more efficient rail operations. The completed project will help create 3 jobs, maintain 10 jobs and the number of truck trips will be reduced by 2,021 trips annually.
Lawrence County: New Castle Industrial Railroad will receive $115,178 for the rehabilitation and construction of track at the Moravia yard. When completed, the project will help create 2 jobs, maintain 5 jobs and reduce the number of necessary truck trips by 2,569 trips per year.
Lebanon County: Lebanon Valley Economic Development Corporation will receive $123,060 for the rehabilitation of track so that rail service can be provided into the former brick plant which was purchased by Seven D, a wholesale building distribution company. The company will receive inbound rail shipments of various building materials for sale and distribution in the area. The completed project will help create 25 jobs and reduce the number of required truck trips by 2,133 annually.
Luzerne and Lackawanna counties: Redevelopment Authority of Luzerne County will receive $243,264 for the rehabilitation of track on the Hillside Junction, Suscon Industrial Track, Wilkes-Barre Secondary and the Grimes Industrial Park to provide a more efficient route for new and existing customers. Upon completion, the project will help create 25 jobs, maintain 400 jobs and reduce the number of truck trips by 9,866 per year.
Montgomery County: ISG Plate, Inc. will receive $154,035 for the rehabilitation of track at the facility’s Conshohocken plant to ensure safe, reliable shipments of raw materials from the Coatesville facility. The completed project will help create 5 jobs, maintain 1,100 jobs and reduce the number of truck trips required by 12,000 trips per year.
Philadelphia County: George F. Kempf Supply Co., Inc. will receive $100,000 for the construction of a rail siding to allow the company to receive building materials by rail for local distribution. When completed, the project will create 7 jobs, maintain 45 jobs and reduce the number of necessary truck trips by 567 annually.
Washington County: Borough of Donora will receive $105,000 for the rehabilitation of track within the Donora Industrial Park that is served by the Norfolk Southern Railroad. The completed project will help maintain 231 jobs and reduce the number of required truck trips by 73 annually.