MASSENA Local business development officials are excited by the announcement that the rail-freight operator CSX Corp. will invest approximately $100 million toward improving its rail lines between Montreal and Syracuse.
The focus of the project is the construction of a trans-shipment center in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield in southwest Quebec, although CSXs total investment of $107.3 million will include $14 million toward the expansion of its site in Massena, according to the Montreal Gazette.
I think its great news. Any action that increases rail traffic to Montreal will increase rail use in Massena, said Daniel S. Pease, chairman of the Business Development Corporation for a Greater Massena.
CSX officials expect the project to increase north-south commerce on the companys local rail lines.
We believe this new terminal will provide immediate and long-term benefits to Quebec and to Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, CSX Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Michael J. Ward said in a company news release. The terminal will provide an anchor for the development of new business, helping boost the economy and create jobs while helping the environment and reducing congestion on the highways.
Construction of the terminal in Salaberry-de-Valleyfields Perron Industrial Park is expected to begin this spring, and the terminal is expected to open in 2015.
Company officials declined to comment on how the project will expand the CSX site operations in Massena.
CSX does plan to make some improvements to its operations on the line between Syracuse and the Canadian border as a result of the planned development in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield in Quebec, CSX spokesman Robert Sullivan said. At this point, however, there are no specific projects to announce.
Mr. Pease said he believes any action that increases traffic to the north will be good for the community, because the CSX site in Massena rests on a line that connects Montreal to a number of major cities in the eastern United States.
The BDC has worked to improve the rail lines near the Massena Industrial Park, including funding a rail spur that would extend the CSX rail line to the park.
One of our problems with promoting rail service (near the industrial park) is because the rail car price is so high, Mr. Pease said. If the CSX project reduces the cost of shipping, it may increase the number of rail cars and increase competition at the industrial park.
Mr. Pease noted that more rail cars using the lines will reduce the rail car price. He said hes heard from potential business developers who have raised concerns over the high costs of shipment from the industrial park.
A major user of Massenas CSX lines is Alcoa, but company officials declined to comment on the firms plans, as they hadnt received information on the details of the project.