Lackawanna County Rail Project Gets State Money

grant_photoFrom The Citizen’s Voice

A plan to upgrade the Norfolk-Southern railroad yard in Taylor and create at least 20 new jobs got a boost Friday when Gov. Tom Wolf awarded the project a $1 million grant.

The grant fell far short of the $3.7 million that the Northeast Freight Transfer Family of Companies asked for, but officials said they hope to tap other state grant programs for additional funding.

“We’re happy we got $1 million but not satisfied,” state Rep. Sid Michaels Kavulich, D-Taylor, said. “This is not over.”

Jeffrey Sheridan, a spokesman for Wolf, said the governor received more than 350 applications totaling more than $1 billion.

“Not every project can receive the full amount requested,” Sheridan said.

Northeast Freight has operated the yard for Norfolk-Southern and predecessor railroads for 25 years. The yard sits just off Main Street near Oak Street.

Chris Cawley, a consultant to Northeast Freight, said the approximately $8 million project involves installing a new lift to pick up shipping containers, new roads within the yard and a drainage system.

The company will hire new mechanics, yard workers, lift and forklift operators and managers, Cawley said. The salaries will range from $14 to $24 an hour.

The company hopes to start construction in the spring and finish in about six months, Cawley said.

The yard expects more business because the opening of a wider Panama Canal created more shipping traffic.

Borough officials say the project also will divert heavy truck traffic from Depot Street, a dirt access road, to Oak Street, which runs by the Stauffer Industrial Park and can handle heavy truck traffic better.

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