Thursday, May 12, 2011
Norfolk Southern breaks ground
By SUE WATSON
One of Norfolk Southern’s four new intermodal shipping yards was celebrated recently in Rossville, Tenn., during formal ground-breaking ceremonies.
Emcee Paul Summers, former Tennessee attorney general, said, “transportation is the backbone of our economy.”
He said the intermodal yard in Rossville, adjacent to Marshall County, is truly the anchor of the Crescent Corridor – Norfolk Southern’s name for its rail system that stretches from the Gulf Coast to Memphis, to New York and New Jersey and all points in between.
The Crescent Corridor will provide economical shipping of freight to flow between the South and the Northeast.
Norfolk Southern CEO Wick Moorman, a native of Hattiesburg, said the corridor will carry from five to six million truck loads of freight a year – relieving traffic congestion on highways and providing economy of shipping to benefit the public and private sectors.
He said Norfolk Southern’s $600 million project is the “single most important intermodal rail project in the United States.”
“We are going to do a great thing for everyone moving their freight,” he said.
Besides the new Memphis Intermodal Yard under construction in Rossville, three other intermodals will be built or expanded on the Corridor – one in Birmingham, Ala., one in Charlotte, N. C., and one in Harrisburg, Pa.
The Memphis Intermodal yard costs $105 million. Half the money for the Norfolk Southern project, about $300 million in a Tiger grant provided for by monies from the American Recovery Reinvestment Act of 2009, helped get this project on the move. Norfolk Southern and a five-state coalition (North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Mississippi, Arkansas, Alabama, Tennessee) applied for the Tiger grant.
Robert Mariner, with the United States Department of Transportation, emphasized how the investment in rail will undergird economic development in the states served, including Mississippi and Tennessee.
Tennessee Rep. Barrett Rich, of Somerville, said the intermodal yard would create 6,200 jobs in his state by 2020. In terms of the economy of rail, a gallon of gas will carry 280 truck loads of freight 40 miles, he said.
“We will use this to further Tennessee’s position in transportation and the economy,” he said.
Gov. Bill Haslam of Tennessee said the Memphis intermodal yard in Rossville is a real transportation logistics center.
Sen. Dolores Gresham (Tenn.) praised the unity of communities, government, and business people, for creating the project, which she said would outlive all present at the ribbon cutting.
“To be a part of an historical event like this, we must remember how truly blessed we are,” she said.
Rep. Barrett Rich (Tenn.) praised the leadership of Fayette County, Tenn., for choosing the Rossville site.
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