Norfolk Southern Railway will invest $97 million on a Birmingham Regional Intermodal Facility in McCalla, Alabama, with estimates of providing employment for about 200 workers while creating thousands of indirect jobs.
The $97.5 million railway hub, located on a 316-acre site adjacent to Jefferson Metropolitan Park, is a critical component of Norfolk Southern's $2.5 billion multi-state Crescent Corridor initiative to establish an efficient, high-capacity intermodal freight rail route between the Gulf Coast and the Northeast, Gov. Robert Bentley said. The facility is expected to create more than 8,600 jobs in the area over the next decade.
Norfolk Southern constructed the main administrative building to LEED, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, Certification standards. The facility also uses the latest in gate and terminal automation technology, which shortens the waiting time for trucks entering the terminal, and improves truck driver productivity and air quality. Additionally, state-of-the-art low emission cranes and hostler tractors will operate within the terminal.
"There is no other intermodal rail public-private project today that compares with the magnitude of the Crescent Corridor in terms of job creation or environmental benefits," Wick Moorman, Norfolk Southern Chief Executive Officer said. "Because of its strategic location and the growing intermodal demands throughout the country, the Birmingham terminal will serve as a major gateway for truck-competitive freight moving between the South and Northeast and enable NS to launch new service from Birmingham to the Northeast and to Mexico.
Opening of this hub "is the result of the efforts of many whose work together will continue as the Crescent Corridor develops, and we express our appreciation to Governor Bentley and his administration for their support of this project, which will be a catalyst for creating jobs and economic development opportunities," Moorman continued. "We look forward to continuing our work with the Alabama Department of Commerce, the Jefferson County Commissioners, the Jefferson County Economic and Industrial Development Authority, the Birmingham MPO, and the Birmingham Business Alliance."
"This facility will create new jobs, not just within the facility itself but also in the surrounding area," said Governor Bentley. "Intermodal facilities often help attract distribution centers, manufacturing plants, and other industries. Having Norfolk Southern here will benefit the surrounding region by providing a catalyst for more new jobs."
Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce, said the announcement was especially timely, because by the year 2020 iit is expected that U.S. freight traffic will increase 100 percent and international trade will increase by 200 percent. "The location of this intermodal center in Alabama by one of our premiere economic development partners gives the state a strategic logistics advantage to capitalize on these increases and promotes the goals of our economic development plan," he said. "The announcement is also important because it helps companies better manage inbound raw materials and promotes goods produced in the state.
While details of any incentive package offered the railway was not immediately available, a financial incentive program offered by the state includes investment, sales and property tax credits along with roadway and industrial development grants.