Gov. Kay Ivey announced the creation of A-USA Corridor, which will provide $231.6 million in rail infrastructure projects in central and southern Alabama. The A-USA Corridor project is a public-private partnership with Norfolk Southern, which is providing more than half of the project funding.
“Working together with the Port in Mobile to build out our infrastructure to move the commerce for Alabama and the greater southeastern region of the country must be one of our top priorities,” said Ivey. “Creating good port access to central Alabama is a key part of this initiative, and it can provide options for freight containers to reach new destinations inland, which our country has struggled with during the supply chain crisis.”
The first phase involves linking the Port of Mobile with the McCalla Intermodal Facility near Birmingham. At $71.6 million, the 280-mile rail corridor will also link mega economic development sites in Etowah (Little Canoe Creek), Shelby (Calera) and Washington/Mobile (Calvert) counties, each with more than 1,000 acres. A fourth site in Jefferson County will see the development of 104 acres with up to a million square feet of warehousing under roof. The Growing Alabama Tax Credit program has helped expedite work required to make these sites immediately available for manufacturing, warehousing and distribution. To that end, Norfolk Southern has already partnered with the state and local economic development authorities by investing $5.7 million for improvements to the Little Canoe Creek site.
“The A-USA Corridor is an innovative public-private partnership that will strengthen the nation’s supply chain at a critical time and boost the regional economy,” said Alan Shaw, president of Norfolk Southern. “We look forward to working with Governor Ivey and the Port of Mobile to make the A-USA Corridor an engine for job creation in Alabama for years to come.”
Phase one of the A-USA Corridor project involves 12 specific track, signal and yard improvements on Norfolk Southern rail lines between Mobile, Selma and Birmingham.
“The Norfolk Southern rail improvements will bolster capacity, reliability and market access through the Port of Mobile for regional supply chains,” said John Driscoll, director and CEO of the Alabama State Port Authority.
Alabama is investing $5 million in the first phase of the project, with the remainder coming from present and future federal Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements Program grants through the Alabama Department of Transportation, in partnership with Norfolk Southern.
According to an economic impact report created by the University of Alabama Culverhouse College of Business, from 2000 to 2020 the A-USA Corridor provided new and expanded economic development investments totaling $14.3 billion with 20,498 jobs in Alabama. During the construction phases of this project, Alabama is expected to benefit from $497.2 million in gross business activity, including $184.8 million in earnings to 4,247 direct and indirect Alabama workers. During construction, $13.1 million in state and local taxes will be generated.