Norfolk Southern is moving forward this week with plans to expand operations at its Rutherford Intermodal Facility near Harrisburg, Pa., after the U.S. Department of Transportation awarded a $15 million TIGER III grant to the project.
The $60.5 million project - expected to finish in 2014 - will help Norfolk Southern meet growing demand for intermodal freight transportation in the Harrisburg region. When completed, expanded operations could result in about 400 new direct and indirect jobs in Swatara Township and the surrounding Dauphin County community, in addition to construction jobs beginning as early as 2012.
Intermodal transportation involves the use of two or more transportation modes (train, truck, ship) to move shipping containers and trailers from origin to destination.
“Growing demand for intermodal rail transportation means more jobs for the Harrisburg region and fewer long-distance trucks on congested interstate highways,” said Norfolk Southern CEO Wick Moorman. “This project and the TIGER grant will help Norfolk Southern meet that demand and provide a boost to the local economy. Expanding the Rutherford Intermodal Facility will result in tremendous economic development for Central Pennsylvania, as well as environmental benefits. Railroad locomotives can move a ton of freight 484 miles per gallon of fuel. That’s 75 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions compared with moving freight by truck.
“We are grateful for the support of Gov. Tom Corbett and PennDOT. They are committed to improving transportation in Pennsylvania, and they recognize railroads are a vital part of that. We also would like to thank Secretary Ray LaHood, Sen. Bob Casey Jr., U.S. Rep. Tim Holden, state Sen. Jeffrey Piccola, and state Rep. John Payne for their leadership and advocacy on behalf of the Rutherford project,” Moorman said.
The Rutherford intermodal facility and the Harrisburg region are key routing points for freight rail traffic moving east-west and north-south through Central Pennsylvania. The Harrisburg region also is an important part of an existing 2,500-mile rail network called the Crescent Corridor, stretching from Louisiana to New Jersey, where the railroad company has identified $2.5 billion in infrastructure improvement projects. These projects would link key markets in the Northeast and Southeast with high-quality intermodal rail service and should support some 73,000 jobs, remove long-distance trucks from the highways, lower emissions damaging to the environment, and boost the economy.
When completed, the Rutherford project will:
- Add about 400 permanent jobs to the local economy. These include crane operators, truck drivers, and service industry employees.
- Expand intermodal capacity by 50 percent.
- Alleviate traffic problems on Grayson Road and Mushroom Hill Road by moving the Triple Crown Services truck entrance about a mile east to avoid a private grade crossing.
“The Commonwealth will continue to work with the federal government and Norfolk Southern to both create jobs and reduce long-haul truck traffic on our interstate road system,” Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett said. “Efficient freight movement is important to Pennsylvania's economy, and this project will further enhance our abilities to move freight through the Commonwealth.”
U.S. Sen. Bob Casey Jr. said, “This project is a great boost for the economy of south central Pennsylvania. By reducing the number of long-haul trucks on Pennsylvania’s roadways by 600,000 a year, this project will benefit not only the local economy but drivers on interstates across the Commonwealth as well.”
The Rutherford expansion is one of three significant economic projects Norfolk Southern has slated for Central Pennsylvania. The other two are a new $96.9 million intermodal facility under construction near Greencastle in Franklin County, and a $28 million expansion of operations at the Harrisburg intermodal terminal on Industrial Road.
“I am pleased that the Rutherford Intermodal Terminal will be receiving $15 million in the form of a TIGER III grant,” said U.S. Rep. Tim Holden. “This money will expand the terminal, allowing the Harrisburg area to meet its growing demand of freight traffic. In addition, this money will result in over 900 well-paying jobs for both the construction and administration of the terminal. This award is a win-win for the region.”
For more information about the Crescent Corridor, visit www.TheFutureNeedsUs.com.
Norfolk Southern Corporation is one of the nation’s premier transportation companies. Its Norfolk Southern Railway subsidiary operates approximately 20,000 route miles in 22 states and the District of Columbia, serves every major container port in the eastern United States, and provides efficient connections to other rail carriers. Norfolk Southern operates the most extensive intermodal network in the East and is a major transporter of coal and industrial products.