Houston County Courier - Local News
Stories Added - March 2009
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DETCOG Approves Grant Application for Rail Facility
Houston County Courier - March 2009
Deep East Texas Council of Governments approved a "pre-application" grant of $5 million in funding from the U.S. Economic Development Agency, EDA, to fund a new Regional Rail Freight Facility, which would be built in Houston County.
The grant application was prepared by Carl Goosby, R.G. Miller Engineers, Inc., Houston County Judge Lonnie Hunt and Tim Culp, Crockett Economic and Industrial Development Corporation, who presented it to DETCOG on Thursday, Feb. 27.
Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR) has implemented a rail corridors infrastructure policy which provides for the continuous operation of their unit trains in a bi-directional mode of operations in East Texas.
Because of this, existing individual industrial facilities served by UPRR must provide, at their own expense, the mandated UPRR switches, rails, and other related equipment for their respective facility, as well as maintain and operate the facility in accordance with UPRR operational procedures.
UPRR operational costs for this will also be charged to the facility.
These costs for rural facilities, especially in these difficult economic times, threaten their financial viability which in turn could result in loss of jobs and economic devastation.
These individually served rural facilities are already bearing the expense of UPRR operations policy which restricts certain rail car switching.
UPRR will not provide individual freight rail service for future facilities. The proposed Regional Freight Rail Facility (which would incorporate related trucking operations) would be located in Houston County for several reasons:
- The existing Class 1 UPRR Rail Corridor traverses Houston County.
- Houston County is outside the City of Houston Metropolitan Freight Rail Congestion.
- Houston County is located halfway between Houston and Dallas.
- Houston County is located halfway between I-45 and US Hwy. 59 (future I-69) with a good east-west connector (Hwy. 7) connecting the two.
- Houston County also has a direct highway connection to the Golden Triangle Area via US Hwy. 287.
The facility would be designed in total compliance with UPRR existing as well as forecasted freight rail operations. Current estimated cost of the facility would be 6.5 million dollars. Funding sources to be utilized would be an EDA grant in the amount of $5 million dollars and $1.5 million dollars coming from local industry and government resources.
It would serve existing industries throughout the region, and would be a significant asset in the development and recruitment of new industries that need rail service.
UPRR would make only one stop at a pre-designated schedule to have rail cars placed within the facility as well as take "emptys" out, by the facility locomotive, the rail served facilities would then have their respective rail cars provided to them by the facility locomotive in accordance with UPRR.
With the development of this facility, UPRR's overall rail service for the region including the 42 counties within a 100-mile radius of Houston County would be enhanced, new jobs will be created and existing jobs will be saved.