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Owens visits Massena Terminal Railroad

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MASSENA - Congressman William L. “Bill” Owens visited the Massena Terminal Railroad Monday afternoon sitting down for a presentation on the relationship between the railroad and Alcoa, before taking a tour of the company’s engine house and taking a ride from the depot to the Alcoa West plant.

The Massena Terminal Railroad is a two-mile stretch of track owned by the Genesee & Wyoming Company that services one client - Alcoa West.

Massena Terminal General Manager Chad Mowery said the railroad, which was originally owned by Alcoa, was built in 1898 and opened in 1902 at the same time as Alcoa West.

“It’s the epitome of a short line relationship,” Mr. Mowery said, explaining that any materials used at Alcoa West are delivered to the plant by rail coming from the Massena Terminal Railroad.

Alcoa Senior Staff Facilities Engineer Beverly Welsch said that any given time Alcoa has approximately 300 rail cars in use.

“It all comes in by rail,” she said, adding that the Alcoa West also houses a rail yard with six lines.

“There are three miles of line within the plant,” she said, noting that thanks to a series of grants over the past several years much of the railroad, which was last rebuilt in 1950, has been upgraded. Work on the railroad remains ongoing with work on the tracks bridges expected to happen next.

During her presentation, Ms. Welsch said the Massena Terminal Railroad received a $1 million grant from the New York state Department of Transportation that paid for track and crossing rehabilitation from 2008 through 2010; another $1.25 million grant from the New York state Department of Transportation that paid for rail yard, main line, and crossing rehabilitation from 2010-2013 and a third $1.6 million grant that is paying for main line and bridge repairs that began in 2011 and are expected to conclude this year.

“Massena Terminal has been fantastic to work with the whole time,” she said.

Genesee & Wyoming Manager Railroad Services Manager of Government and Industry Affairs Kim Smith also used the occasion to thank Mr. Owens for his support of the Short Line Rail Road Tax Credit, a credit first implemented in 2004 that has since expired, but may return to the table.

“We just want to thank you,” Ms. Smith said. “It’s (the credit) is used for maintenance and rehabilitation projects. This tax credit helps us extend our funds.”

Mr. Owens said he’ll have a better idea of whether the credit gets extended sometime this summer.

“We’ll probably have a better sense of this in July,” he said, adding that if the credit is not extended then it could possibly be extended during “the lame duck session” when Congress meets following the elections but before newly elected representatives take office.

Mr. Mowery said the Massena Terminal Railroad employs nine people in Massena and provides service to Alcoa Monday through Friday and on weekends “as needed.”



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