MASSENA -- The Massena Terminal Railroad has signed its contract to begin the first stages of improvements to rails, bridges and ballast with $1.6 million in state funding.
The funds are part of the first round of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s Regional Council initiative and awarded through the North Country Regional Economic Development Council today announced that.
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 line's 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 region’s 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.”
NYSDOT’s 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 State's major trade and passenger travel corridors, including capacity, clearance, intermodal facilities, yards and other projects that enhance competitiveness and economic development.
“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.”
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.”