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Rendell, Norfolk Southern announce intermodal rail facility

August 12, 2009|By KATE S. ALEXANDER

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GREENCASTLE, Pa. -- Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell showed his support for Norfolk Southern's Crescent Corridor initiative Wednesday, promising that his $45 million contribution will pass in the capital budget.

"Whatever happens in the budget fight, this money will be in there and will be over the next three years," Rendell said.

Together with the governor, Norfolk Southern announced Wednesday its plans to build a $95 million intermodal rail facility in Franklin County, Pa.

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Spread over three years, the $45 million will help jump-start a public-private partnership between the Commonwealth, the federal government and Norfolk Southern, CEO Wick Moorman said.

The Franklin County Regional Intermodal Facility joins four others in the state. Each is designed to allow transfer of freight between trains and trucks.

Because of its strategic proximity to key markets, the Franklin County terminal is vital to the success of the high-speed freight route from Louisiana to New Jersey, Moorman said.

More than 2,300 miles of Norfolk Southern track run through Pennsylvania, including those that border the 200-acre site the company purchased in Antrim Township.

The site is now a corn field, said Jane Pittman, who, with her husband, George, owns 69 of the 200 acres being sold to Norfolk Southern.

Even though she is losing her home of 40 years, Pittman said she understands the role she will play in Franklin County's economic future.

"This is the anchor we have been waiting for," said Gary Gembe, president of the Greencastle-Antrim Area Development Corp. "This will have a domino effect on development at Exit 3."

Nearly 1,000 acres surrounding Exit 3 are zoned for commercial and industrial development.

Norfolk Southern was drawn to the site's proximity to the future Antrim Commons Business Park, owned by Baltimore-based Atapco, Moorman said.

Yet, it was the support of neighbors and the community that sealed the deal, he said.

"(It was) that intangible factor, the business environment and community environment and the people who said 'we want this here' that we saw here in the county," he said.

Investing in Crescent Corridor is sound economic policy for the Commonwealth, Rendell said. He estimated that by 2015, the facility in Antrim Township will employ 600 Pennsylvanians.

Neighbors of the intermodal facility are invited to an informational meeting Aug. 27 at 4 p.m. PennDOT will host the meeting at Green Grove Gardens on Pa. 16.

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