The North Carolina Railroad Co. (NCRR) has partnered with the state’s economic development community and railroads to offer “Build Ready Sites” that, among other initiatives “drive increased job creation, freight rail use and economic growth.”
“North Carolina has a substantial amount of land available for development located along active railroad corridors,” NCRR said. “The state offers multiple funding opportunities for development needs (e.g. infrastructure, building demo, etc.) when there is an active economic development client. Often, companies are not able to wait on these improvements. Thus, having a ready site becomes a key differentiator between a community and its competitors when working to attract a new company.”
Through NCRR Invests, the railroad evaluate requests for investments to address the freight rail infrastructure needs of business and industry considering location or expansion in North Carolina. Eligible rail-related investments include, but are not limited to rights-of-way; design and engineering; site grading and drainage for trackwork; lead, siding and other track construction; railroad signals; and rail loading facilities. NCRR noted it “is also committed to investing in freight rail infrastructure needs at the state’s rail-served megasites, should a new or expanding rail-served industry choose to locate at the sites.”
NCRR said all submissions must originate from a county’s lead economic development organization.
North Carolina’s freight rail network boasts more than 3,200 miles of railroad, owned by two Class I railroads and 19 short lines.
NCRR noted that CSX and Norfolk Southern offer direct access to North America’s massive intercity rail network and together, operate three-fourths of North Carolina’s track. Both offer direct service to the major ports located along the eastern seaboard as well as intermodal container service for North Carolina companies through their respective hubs in Charlotte (NS, CSX) and Greensboro (NS). North Carolina is also home to 19 Class II and III railroads, which “can provide essential service advantages for the first and last mile where it may sometimes be operationally challenging for a Class I provider.” Six of these railroads offer direct connections to both CSX and NS.