Friday, September 14, 2012

Intermodal Finds a Home

The news this week that CSX and the City of Baltimore had settled on a site for the proposed intermodal terminal bought a sigh of relief to some people in Elkridge. When state and railroad officials originally announced that a 90 acre site in Hanover was one of four finalists for the facility, residents organized to stop it.

They weren’t the only winners in this battle. As Councilperson Courtney Watson pointed out to me early this week, the new location in the Morrell Park area of the city will be a good deal less expensive. Initial estimates for the Hanover site put the total cost around $140 million with the state and feds picking up half the tab. The city site, expanding an existing rail yard, is projected to cost $90 million with no federal subsidy. The state has agreed to spend about $30 million on the project. Because federal monies are not part of the new equation, the project is no longer subject to the dreaded National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process which added time and additional costs. That has to be also considered a win for CSX.

So what is to become of the Hanover site?

The land remains zoned M2, HoCo’s designation for heavy industry. Already, Aggregate Management Inc. (Laurel Sand and Gravel) is moving ahead with plans for a new asphalt plant on ten acres of the site that was previously optioned to CSX. With the scarcity of M2 land in the corridor, it is unlikely that the balance of the property will remain undeveloped much longer.
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