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Tue January 18 2022

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Alabama plans $230m rail upgrade

5 Jan The governor of Alabama has announced plans for more than US$230m of rail upgrades to improve access to development sites and the port in Mobile.

Governor Kay Ivey
Governor Kay Ivey

Governor Kay Ivey’s proposals involve the creation of the A-USA Corridor, a US$231.6m (£171.5m) programme of projects across the central and southern areas of the US state.

“Working together with the port in Mobile to build out our infrastructure to move the commerce for Alabama and the greater southeastern region of the country must be one of our top priorities,” said Ivey. “Creating good port access to central Alabama is a key part of this initiative, and it can provide options for freight containers to reach new destinations inland, which our country has struggled with during the supply chain crisis. I am proud our state is looking ahead and investing in the Alabama-USA Corridor and the future jobs and economic opportunity it will bring.”

The first phase of the A-USA Corridor initiative involves a US$71.6 million initiative to link the Port of Mobile with the McCalla Intermodal Facility near Birmingham. The 280-mile rail corridor will also link several major, each totalling more than 1,000 acres. A fourth site in Jefferson County will see the development of a 104-acre site with up to a million square-feet of warehousing under roof.

Efficient transport is seen as a critical component in the growth and success of the port and the development sites. The sites are near major interstate highways but it is felt that efficient freight and intermodal rail infrastructure is necessary to meet the port’s rapid growth and the region’s economic expansion needs.

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Phase One of the A-USA Corridor project involves 12 specific track, signal and yard improvements on Norfolk Southern rail lines between Mobile, Selma and Birmingham.

“The Alabama Port Authority welcomes this vital project as we address rapid growth in the port’s container intermodal and freight business lines,” said John Driscoll, director and chief executive officer. “The Norfolk Southern rail improvements will bolster capacity, reliability, and market access through the Port of Mobile for regional supply chains.”

The A-USA Corridor involves a public-private partnership, with Norfolk Southern funding more than 50% of the project. Alabama is investing US$5 million into the project, with the remainder coming from present and future federal grants through the Alabama Department of Transportation, in partnership with Norfolk Southern.

“The A-USA Corridor is an innovative public-private partnership that will strengthen the nation’s supply chain at a critical time and boost the regional economy,” said Alan Shaw, president of Norfolk Southern. “We look forward to working with Governor Ivey and the Port of Mobile to make the A-USA Corridor an engine for job creation in Alabama for years to come.”

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