Fate of city’s intermodal in question

Fate of city’s intermodal in question
 
Date October 04, 2005
Section(s) Local News
Brief  
 
By JOHN JENNINGS

NDN Staff Writer

What will be the fate of Newton’s intermodal facility? The Jasper County Board of Supervisors wanted to know the answer to that question, so they invited Dennis Miller, executive vice-president of Iowa Interstate Railroad, to speak at Monday’s meeting.

Supervisor board chairman Max Worthington told Miller that he had heard rumors that the facility may be moving to Altoona, closer to the Des Moines business community.

“There are no plans to move the intermodal facility to Altoona,” Miller said, nor were there plans to close the Newton yard. But, Miller said, that if a private group goes through with plans to construct a ramp in Altoona, “the odds of Newton staying open are pretty slim.”

The Altoona group has received a low-interest loan to construct a one-mile service line to Iowa Cold Storage in Altoona and are considering constructing a ramp there as well.

Newton has been a tough sell for businesses considering relocating, Miller said, mainly because it is considered too far from the Des Moines metro area. It is still a small operation compared to other intermodal facilities, he said. The facility utilizes containers to ship goods and products via rail lines. Newton’s facility had 4,800 lifts so far this year, a relatively low number, he said.

Jasper County spent $2.5 million to construct the intermodal facility 10 years ago, part of an incentive package to Maytag in order to get the Neptune washer platform in Newton. However, Barilla, the pasta manufacturer in Ames, is using the Newton facility more than Maytag.

Craig Hamilton, Jasper County Economic Development Corporation director, said he expects the biodiesel facility, which will be located adjacent to the Newton intermodal, to begin construction in mid-November. Its future use of the Newton intermodal is uncertain.

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