CSX should look at Massena for railroad’s ‘select site’ program, says Sen. Gillibrand
Saturday, May 18, 2013 - 8:27 am

MASSENA -- New York U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has urged the railroad company CSX to choose Massena for their Select Site Program.

RACER Trust, submitter of the CSX Select Site application, has been actively working with the Massena community to repurpose and redevelop the site of GM’s former Massena Powertrain plant.

CSX introduced the program in 2012 as an opportunity to work with the economic development community to create an inventory of sites that can be marketed for CSX direct rail service.

The Select Site program reviews the manufacturing and distribution development properties along the CSX network to find those that are most capable of being developed rapidly to use freight rail service. This designation confirms that standard land use issues have been addressed and that the site is ready for development, according to the CSX web site.

“Through the Select Site program, we can increase speed to market and lower up-front development risk for companies seeking industrial property for manufacturing operations,” said Clark Robertson, assistant vice president, regional development, CSX. “This program helps communities identify and prepare sites that can compete for new investments and job creation.”

Meanwhile the Main Line Track and Bridge Rehabilitation project, sponsored by the Massena Terminal Railroad Company and partially funded by the North Country Regional Economic Development Council, 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.

“Recent industrial developments and close proximity to Northeastern and Canadian markets makes Massena a qualified candidate for the CSX Select Site designation,” said Gillibrand. “RACER Trust has been an integral part of demonstrating the North Country’s commitment to industrial development and expansion. This designation will highlight the region’s assets to potential new companies that could call the former Powertrain Plant site a new home, bringing more work and jobs for the area’s well trained industrial workforce.”

“This truly great news for Massena,” said Massena Town Supervisor Joseph D. Gray. “On behalf of our residents and the Town Council, I would like to thank the folks at RACER trust for their hard work promoting this site and our community,” Gray said. “This property is a great site with lots of development potential. We’re anxious to show what Massena has to offer to a future developer.”

“This is a great opportunity to highlight the many benefits of doing business in the Massena area, and we support RACER's efforts wholeheartedly,” said St. Lawrence County Legislator Tony Arquiett, chairman of the North Country Redevelopment Task Force. “RACER has been a strong advocate and partner for economic development and jobs in the North Country, and a CSX Select designation for the former GM property is an important step toward strengthening our local economy. We thank Senator Gillibrand for her active participation in this process and work to advance the interests of the North Country.”

The former Massena Powertrain Plant, a 217.2-acre property, is near easily accessible transportation facilities. The deep-water port in Ogdensburg provides the facility with direct access to Northeastern United States and Canada and elsewhere around the world by sea. Additionally, some of North America’s cleanest, cheapest power is readily available at the international hydroelectric St. Lawrence-Franklin D. Roosevelt Power Project at Massena.

In her letter to CSX Corporation Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Michael J. Ward, Senator Gillibrand wrote, “I believe these assets make this site fully capable of accommodating larger, rail-served industrial end-users, positioning it as a perfect fit for CSX’s Certified Rail-Served Sites Select Site Program. If successful in securing this designation, the Massena site will be even better positioned to attract new industrial operations, with CSX’s program further helping communities prepare properties to compete for new investment and job creation.”