New Rail Could Equal New Jobs in Franklin County
by Lena Vargas
KEPR TV, July 1, 2009
One thousand feet of new rail added to an exiting rail line near the Port of Pasco may not sound like a lot. But local leaders, like Randy Hayden with the Port of Pasco, say it's worth millions in new business and jobs.
"When you're trying to attract these large industrial companies and they say, 'we want rail', they don't want to hear we have plans with rail. They want the rail to actually be in place" said Hayden.
In all the project calls for six thousand new feet of rail added. The first one thousand of which will be put in place in September. The money for the other five thousand feet is still in the works.
Here's how the investment adds up:
The total project costs two million dollars to put the rail line in and that the project will eventually yield more than two thousand jobs. So that's about a one-thousand dollar investment per job.
Or put another way, for every three feet of rail, city and other local leaders aim to get one new job. Hayden emphasizes these would be permanent jobs.
"In the Tri-Cities right now, we're very blessed with a good robust economy and a lot of jobs because of Hanford. Of course the goal of all economic development agencies is to wean ourselves from those Hanford jobs when they eventually disappear, which they will."
Hayden is talking about the jobs created by stimulus money.
Plus, he says the Heritage Industrial Center is one of the few remaining plots of land for industrial use in the Tri-Cities.
The jobs would pay an average of $50,000 a year if county and city leaders succeed in recruiting new business.
The Heritage Industrial Center is made up of 400-acres just south of Highway 12 and East of Oregon avenue.
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