From The Times-Tribune
BY THE EDITORIAL BOARD / PUBLISHED: OCTOBER 13, 2016
Norfolk Southern Railroad has targeted its Taylor rail yard for expansion, to help handle vastly increased container traffic. (Times-Tribune File)
Anyone who doubts the permanence and impact of global commerce should take a look at a project planned for the Norfolk Southern Railroad yard in Taylor. It could demonstrate by next year how the widening of the Panama Canal and related port expansions in Baltimore, Philadelphia and New Jersey could help create jobs in Lackawanna County.
The rail yard is a freight transfer station, where cargo is transferred from trucks to trains and from trains to trucks. The Northeast Freight Transfer Family of Companies, which operates the yard, envisions an $8 million expansion to handle the increased freight headed to the ports to the widening of the canal.
Massive new container ships that the new canal can accommodate will dock in East Coast ports, which are being deepened to handle them. Thousands more containers per year will be transferred inland by train to transfer stations, where they will be loaded on trucks to their final destinations.
The company has applied for a $3.1 million state Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program grant, which would be a worth public investment in the project.
Shipping by rail from ports to inland transfer stations keeps down shipping costs, reduces truck congestion on highways and diminishes pollution.
The Taylor project also directly would create about 20 good jobs, but its bigger impact over the long term likely would be in spinoff economic activity. Proximity to a major transfer site would be a significant economic development asset.
Gov. Tom Wolf should approve the RCAP grant to help the region economically take advantage of its proximity to some of the nation’s largest markets and to lay the foundation for further economic growth.