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Roanoke intermodal facility means more jobs and tax revenue, Virginia rail office says

What would a new intermodal terminal mean to the Roanoke, Va., region? An additional 2,900 jobs and up to $71 million in tax revenues annually.

Those are the key findings of an economic assessment report on the Roanoke Region Intermodal Facility recently released by the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT).

The report concludes that the terminal, which would be part of the Heartland Corridor double-stack intermodal route, would provide "significant economic benefits" for the region, including fuel savings totaling 189 million gallons and the elimination of 1.9 million trucks from Virginia highways. The region also would gain better air quality — carbon dioxide emissions would be reduced by 700,000 tons during the terminal's first 15 years of operation, the report states.

"This assessment confirms the project's merits and the vision of local elected officials who have supported the project as part of the Heartland Corridor initiative," said DRPT Director Matthew Tucker in a prepared statement. "The facility has the potential to deliver seven dollars for every state dollar invested."

DRPT is nearing the completion of a site evaluation process for the terminal, which would be one of three new intermodal facilities on the Hampton Roads, Va.-to-Chicago Heartland Corridor (the others will be built in Columbus, Ohio, and Prichard, W.Va.).

Under a public/private partnership, Norfolk Southern Corp. and several states are developing the corridor, which is expected to reduce transit time up to 1.5 days beginning in 2010. NS began several tunnel clearance projects along the route in November.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 1/8/2008