Owensboro Riverport Authority finished work on an inner railroad loop in April and another project focused on paving the frame for a storage area was completed in June. These projects will allow companies like Metalsa to add more jobs because of its newfound access to a local railway.
ORA received a grant for $1.1 million that facilitated the construction for these projects. Riverport Authority President and CEO Brian Wright said the grant was based on the estimated costs for the rail track improvement costs, which totaled around $1.5 million. ORA was awarded 80 percent of that $1.5 million.
“It ended up being a $1.7 million project,” Wright said. “The congestion mitigation air quality (CMAQ) grant was driven by eliminating truck volume between Owensboro and up north, and utilizing the rail.”
Wright said ORA’s mission is to boost local economic development and to help other companies.
“Our job is to help local industry the best we can,” he said. “By establishing this storage facility and working with Metalsa, we were able to take 5,000 trucks off the road and utilize the rail. We have inventory in our location and limited interruptions from other riverports. Long-term, this rail expansion allows us to help other companies as well.”
By establishing a new storage facility and working with Metalsa, ORA’s grant and inner rail loop construction have allowed the local manufacturing company to load out 500 car frames a day, five days a week.
“Metalsa needed a place that had access to rail or they were running the risk of not getting customers,” Wright said. “We made this agreement as a result. The rail track expansion was completed in May 2019, and we don’t anticipate those numbers going down for them anytime soon.
Wrights said the CMAQ grant has allowed Metalsa to add 113 jobs.