Norfolk Southern's CEO Wick Moorman and Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley joined state and local officials and business leaders today to officially break ground on the new Birmingham Regional Intermodal Facility here. The $97.5 million facility is part of the railroad's multi-state Crescent Corridor initiative to establish an efficient, high-capacity intermodal freight rail route between the Gulf Coast and the Northeast. It occupies a 316-acre site adjacent to the Jefferson Metropolitan Park in McCalla and is expected to open in late 2012.
"The Birmingham Regional Intermodal Facility is ideally located to serve the Southeast and is a critical component of our Crescent Corridor," said Moorman. "We thank Secretary LaHood and USDOT for their efforts to form public-private partnerships to create jobs and economic development opportunities. We commend Gov. Bentley and his administration for their awareness of the economic and environment benefits this facility brings to Alabama. Finally, we recognize the Alabama Department of Transportation, the Alabama Development Office, the Jefferson County Commissioners, the Jefferson County Economic and Industrial Development Authority, the Birmingham MPO, and the Birmingham Business Alliance for their active participation in the planning of this project."
"The Birmingham Regional Intermodal Facility will bring significant economic growth to McCalla and thousands of jobs to Alabamians. As our economy is regaining strength, companies like Norfolk Southern recognize Alabama is a great place to do business," said Governor Bentley at the ceremony. "This new terminal will enable goods to move more quickly throughout the country."
The Birmingham Regional Intermodal Facility is expected to create or enhance 8,600 jobs in central Alabama over the next 10 years, and its capacity will grow to handle 165,000 containers and trailers annually. The terminal will utilize the latest in gate and terminal automation technology, which shortens the waiting time for trucks entering the terminal, improving truck driver productivity and air quality. Additionally, state-of-the-art low emission cranes and hostler tractors will operate within the terminal.
In 2010, the Birmingham Regional Intermodal Facility was selected to participate in the Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES™) Pilot Program. This national initiative, a partnership of the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and the U.S. Botanical Garden, in conjunction with stakeholder organizations including the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), seeks to establish and encourage sustainable practices throughout each phase of a landscape's design, construction, operation, and maintenance periods. NS also will construct the main administrative building to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certification standards.
The Crescent Corridor is a program of independent projects and improvements geared toward creating a high capacity 2,500 mile intermodal route spanning from New Jersey to Louisiana that touches 26 percent of the nation's population and 30 percent of the nation's manufacturing output. It provides the shortest intermodal double stack route between the South and the Northeast. When fully operational it will handle more rail freight traffic faster and more reliably, creating or benefiting more than 70,000 green jobs by 2030 and producing these estimated annual public benefits:
- 1.3 million long-haul trucks diverted from interstates
- $146 million in accident avoidance savings
- 1.9 million tons in CO2 reduction
- $575 million in congestion savings
- $92 million in highway maintenance savings
- 169 million gallons in fuel savings
The Crescent Corridor program of projects is estimated to cost $2.5 billion for full development. In addition to the McCalla facility, Crescent Corridor projects currently planned for development include new independent intermodal facilities at Charlotte, N.C., Greencastle, Pa., and Memphis, Tenn.; the expansion of the Harrisburg, Pa. intermodal terminal; and the addition of freight rail capacity in Virginia and Mississippi. In addition to facility investments, the program includes significant investments in rail route improvements consisting of additional passing tracks, double track projects, improved signaling systems and other track speed enhancements.
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.
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