MASSENA - The North Country Regional Economic Development Council today announced that the Massena Terminal Railroad has signed its contract to officially move forward with the first stages of its improvements project on the strength of a $1.6 million award it received in the first round of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomos Regional Council initiative.
The importance of rail to the future of the north country economy is strongly embraced by the north countrys regional plan, said Garry Douglas, president of the North Country Chamber of Commerce and co-chair of the Regional Economic Development Council.
This project will help to support jobs and economic activity in Massena for years to come, while also representing one of several positive actions in the region which are serving to implement our aim of preserving and modernizing the north countrys rail infrastructure. We commend our Massena area partners for their commitment to this strategically important project, he said.
The North Country Regional Economic Development Council Plan pursues macro strategies to increase and retain jobs in industries that export products and import dollars, including traditional, value-added manufacturing jobs, like those at the Alcoa plant in Massena which benefits from this project, as well as jobs in sectors including agriculture, tourism, biotech and renewable energy, said Tony Collins, president of Clarkson University and co-chair of the Regional Economic Development Council.
With the north country as a gateway to Canada and shipments via the St. Lawrence Seaway, strengthening the transportation infrastructure throughout the seven counties that crown New York state builds capacity for jobs and fostering entrepreneurial opportunities in our region and beyond, he said.
The Main Line Track and Bridge Rehabilitation project, sponsored by the Massena Terminal Railroad Company, will include significant rail improvements along its main line and yard tracks to safely accommodate unit ore trains for the Alcoa West Plant.With a total project cost of nearly $2 million, bridges will be repaired; new rail, ties and ballast will be installed; and a new switch will be installed to improve the lines connection with CSXT.
Massena Terminal Railroad Company Assistant General Manager Chad Mowery said, This is a very important project for the future of the Massena Terminal Railway and our primary customer, Alcoa. The project will solidify our ability to provide access to the North American rail freight network and allow our customers to remain competitive.
In 2011, a total of $785 million was awarded through the Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) for job creation and community development projects consistent with each regions strategic plans. As part of that process, the Main Line Track and Bridge Rehabilitation project was awarded $1.6 million from New York state Department of Transportation (NYSDOT).
The expansion of rail in Massena International is essential to broader business connectivity in the north country, said NYSDOT Commissioner Joan McDonald.Transportation infrastructure investment projects, such as this, encourage job creation, job retention and growth of the local economy.
NYSDOTs funding program, authorized pursuant to the Rebuild and Renew New York Transportation Bond Act of 2005, provides funds for freight rail capital improvements to preserve and improve service in the states major trade and passenger travel corridors, including capacity, clearance, intermodal facilities, yards and other projects that enhance competitiveness and economic development.
State Sen. Joseph A. Griffo said, Weather conditions in the north country will wear down even some of the sturdiest infrastructure..These earmarked funds for rail improvements will be beneficial for Alcoa to continue to safely transporting product and materials. I commend President Tony Collins, Garry Douglas and Commissioner McDonald for ensuring that this project kept its priority status as it made its way through the review process of the Economic Councils.
Assemblywoman Addie Russell said, It will make doing business in Massena more competitive. Projects like this, accomplished with the support of our state, allows us to actively participate in the global economy, so we can keep good jobs right here in the north country.
To learn more about each regional council and their economic development plans, visit www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov. For information on how the New New York is working for business, please visit www.thenewny.com.