In the wake of nationwide supply chain bottlenecks, Alabama has announced a new “A-USA Corridor” railway initiative that will further link the Port of Mobile into the heart of Alabama.
Gov. Kay Ivey announced Tuesday the creation of the corridor, which is a $231.6 million program that seeks to upgrade the state’s economic development infrastructure between the Gulf Coast and central Alabama.
“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,” Ivey said.
According to Ivey, the investment is a strategic investment in creating better inland and mega site access for Alabama’s only Port, which has seen massive increases in volume over the last several years. While highways do service some of this load, Ivey’s office said modern and efficient freight and intermodal rail infrastructure is necessary to meet the port’s rapid growth and the region’s economic expansion needs.
“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.”
Phase One of the A-USA Corridor project involves 280 miles of 12 specific track, signal and yard improvements on Norfolk Southern rail lines between Mobile, Selma and Birmingham, at an estimated cost of $71.6 million. It will link the Port of Mobile to the McCalla Intermodal Facility near Birmingham and provide tributary access for 1,000-acre-plus mega economic development sites in Etowah, Shelby and Washington and Mobile counties. The McCalla site in Jefferson County will see the development of a 104-acre site with up to a million square-feet of warehousing space.
In light of rapid growth, Alabama Port Authority CEO John Discroll said the Port welcomes the project, noting it will benefit the Port’s container intermodal and freight business lines.
“The Norfolk Southern rail improvements will bolster capacity, reliability, and market access through the Port of Mobile for regional supply chains,” Driscoll said.
Over the last 20 years, the A-USA Corridor has resulted in $14.3 billion in investments and 20,498 new jobs.
Norfolk Southern is funding more than 50 percent of the funding for the project and it is expected to result in more than a 200 percent return of $487.2 million in gross business activity, which includes $184.8 million in earnings to 4,247 workers as well as $13.1 million in state and local taxes.
“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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