Public and railroad officials formally completed $12.4 million in improvements to Norfolk Southern’s Toledo Intermodal Terminal with a ribbon-cutting ceremony today at the University of Toledo’s nearby Scott Park campus.
“We are a transportation hub. We have the ability to move the freight in an efficient way,” Mayor Mike Bell said after describing the project as “a perfect example” of cooperation between the private sector and multiple levels of government.
While the terminal near Fearing Boulevard and Hill Avenue has existed since 1994, it has operated far below its capacity because tracks and signal systems near its rail entrances were ill-suited to get trains in and out of it quickly, railroad officials explained. The project added new tracks, switches, and signals to streamline terminal access.
“Right now, we’re doing about 170, 180 lifts per day. We [now] have the capacity and support here to double that,” B.J. Wargo, NS’s division manager for intermodal, said while leading reporters on a tour of the terminal before the ceremony.
The project’s budget included a $6.5 million federal “stimulus” grant obtained by the city of Toledo, a $2.75 million state grant, $425,000 in grade-crossing safety funds, and $2,705,000 in improvements Norfolk Southern paid for itself. A local task force study predicted terminal growth will generate nearly 900 new jobs over seven years in the surrounding area and $2.7 million in annual local and state tax revenue from the economic activity.
“This means economic growth, this means economic activity for our region,” said U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo), appearing at her second ribbon-cutting in as many days after joining in the dedication Tuesday of the new U.S. 24 between Waterville and Napoleon. “Industry matters, rail matters, and modern rail really matters.”