ERIE RAIL FREIGHT INDEPENDENT STUDY CONCLUDES - STUDY REPORT AVAILABLE FOR VIEW
News for Immediate Release
May 17, 2016
ERIE RAIL FREIGHT INDEPENDENT STUDY CONCLUDES
Today, the Erie County Executive in partnership with representatives from the Erie Regional Chamber & Growth Partnership (ERCGP) and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) announced the wrap-up of the Erie Rail Freight Independent Study, identifying challenges and future considerations.
The purpose of the study was to consider the potential viability of a rail freight terminal in Erie County, PA. “The study commenced in the Fall of 2014 based on continued interest from business and industry,” said Kathy Dahlkemper, Erie County Executive. “Today as the study concludes, we invite those stakeholders and the public to review the Final Erie Rail Freight Study Report online.”
The report describes in detail the market and operations analysis performed and the subsequent conclusions regarding feasibility. The approach included a breakeven financial analysis based on potential market demand for a rail terminal, and terminal operations and costs. “In summary, would the demand be enough to balance out the operational and/or capital costs of a rail terminal,” said Bill Petit, P.E., PennDOT District Executive. “Based on the data collected and existing economic conditions, the development of a ‘lift only’ rail freight terminal would seem to be challenging at this time.”
As detailed in the report, a “lift only” rail freight terminal does not include any other ancillary services; therefore, the number of lifts would need to outweigh the costs to be profitable. In this case, approximately, 400 to 500 lifts would be required to cover operational costs, or an 18% market capture rate. The number of lifts required is about double, or a 30% capture rate, to also cover the capital costs of the facility. The report concluded that development of a rail freight terminal in Erie County would require a combination of alternative conditions to be feasible including additional services, greater freight volume or committed industry partner, economic incentives to encourage rail transport, and a partnership with a rail carrier.
“A survey of business and industry representatives we conducted prior to initiation of the study indicated that 97% agreed focusing on transportation efficiency was a smart economic development strategy, said Barbara Chaffee, President and CEO, Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership. “Therefore, we will continue to monitor conditions in our daily operations and evaluate transportation options such as a rail freight terminal as appropriate.
For additional information contact PennDOT Project Manager Steve Schettler at 814 – 678-7356.
Media Contact: Jim Carroll, 814-678-7095