Friday, September 10, 2010

Ohio OKs funds for two rail-related projects

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The Ohio Rail Development Commission says it has approved a staff recommendation for the Commission to act as the public sponsor for a $750,000 dollar grant from the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission. The grant would leverage $250,000 in CSX funds for a project to lower the tracks beneath the Front Street bridge in Downtown Columbus, the state capital (near the Arena District).

ORDC says the project would also benefit the environment and reduce traffic congestion by taking up to 70,000 longhaul truck moves off of Ohio’s highways, resulting in substantial fuel and diesel emissions savings.

In a second major project, ORDC staff approved a $125,000 grant to help leverage funds from Norfolk Southern to build a new switch and rehabilitate a rail spur to help revive a vacant South Columbus plant and create jobs.

The switch and spur project will enable Phoenix-based International Technical Coatings to establish a manufacturing operation in the vacant Techneglas plant in South Columbus, and create an estimated 120 to 200 jobs. The Columbus site reportedly was the choice of ITC over a site in Kentucky because of the access to rail and favorable electric rates. In addition, grants are being provided through grants and tax credits from the Ohio Department of Development, the City of Columbus, and Columbus-based American Electric Power.

“Projects like these are the essence of how the ORDC works with the private sector to make significant economic development happen,” said ORDC Executive Director Matt Dietrich.