U.S. transportation is returning to its roots, the port authority's director said.
By NANCY TULLIS
VINDICATOR SALEM BUREAU
WELLSVILLE -- U.S. Sen. Mike DeWine stopped here Monday to tout the Columbiana County Port Authority's developing intermodal industrial park.
DeWine told those gathered at the 70-acre site that intermodal systems, which can utilize more than one mode of transportation, are the future of transportation. He said village and port authority officials made the industrial park a reality by having the vision needed to create something new.
DeWine said that though the region's economic and manufacturing history of the past 30 years -- not only in steel, but also tile and pottery -- is nearly gone, village and port authority officials worked together to plan for the 21st century.
DeWine said that as a member of the senate appropriations committee he secured $1 million for the Wellsville park from the 2002 Veterans Administration and Housing and Urban Developmentappropriations bill and is trying for more funding.
Tracy Drake, port authority executive director, said that with intermodal systems, the United States is returning to its transportation roots.
Early in its history, the country depended heavily on a network of rivers and canals. After the Civil War, the focus shifted to railroads, then to highways and trucking after World War II. Now intermodal systems include highway, rail and river transportation.
Drake said the $1 million from the appropriations bill is being used to build loading docks on the river.
Drake said the highway interchange under construction near the park will more readily link the park to key highways such as state routes 11 and 7 and U.S. Route 30.
Drake said that port and village officials have worked together to secure $10 million in public money for the transportation portion of the park and that about $5 million more is needed.
Lured by the park's location and the potential for intermodal transportation, two companies are now operating in the park and a third is being developed, Drake said.
He said the companies have about $10 million invested in the park so far and 22 acres remain.
Those operating in the park are Polar Mineral, a Georgia-based mineral grinding business, and Quality Liquid Feeds, a Wisconsin company that uses Louisiana molasses to make animal feed.
Probex, a Texas-based oil company that recycles motor oil, is finalizing funding and company officials hope to break ground in the spring of 2003, Drake said.