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Towns banking on new rail yard

Proponents of a proposed rail logistics center to be constructed on a former rail yard that spans the towns of Halfmoon and Stillwater and the City of Mechanicville, say it will bring several benefits to the municipalities, as well as the state.

In the face of skyrocketing fuel prices, a team of rail companies is getting together to provide freight service to the region.

We're excited about it, said Halfmoon Town Supervisor Mindy Wormuth. "The opportunities for spin-off economic development are great."

Wormuth said 90 percent of the actual construction would be in the Town of Halfmoon, and she hopes companies will want to locate near the rail yard.

"We're focusing on the economic development piece," Wormuth said.

She also said jobs at the warehouse will help the economy of the town.

Rail officials expect at least 40 jobs to be available at the opening of the rail center. They said that number would grow throughout the years of operation.

"I think from that sense it will be a big boost there," Wormuth said.

While the benefits will outweigh the negatives, Wormuth said, the town is concerned with the light and noise pollution.

However, she said, the companies seem willing to work with the town to mitigate the light and noise and reduce pollution.

"As soaring energy costs have forced businesses to re-think how to transport consumer goods, the rail industry has once again become an increasingly viable and affordable option," said Sen. Joseph Bruno, R-Brunswick, who secured state funding for the project. "Today's announcement by Norfolk Southern and Pan Am Railways to invest in constructing a new facility in Southern Saratoga County is great news for the local economies in Mechanicville, Halfmoon and Stillwater."

Bruno joined other local officials and representatives from Pan Am and Norfolk Southern to announce plans for the rail center Tuesday, July 8.

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