Port authority keeps $50K payment
By Ashley Luthern
The Columbiana County Port Authority is keeping one-third of a good-faith payment given by a Canadian energy company that decided against purchasing the Youngstown & Southern rail line.
The port authority is keeping $50,000 of the $150,000, said Tracy Drake, the organization’s executive director.
The agreement comes before the release of a final report on the environmental concerns cited by Tervita, which claimed there was contamination near a rail- car barn on the southern portion of the line.
Under terms of the $2.9 million agreement, Tervita was permitted to stop the deal because of environmental concerns. It did so in August.
“We kept $50,000, and that was done prior to the final determination simply because we wanted to get it settled,” Drake said.
“The conclusion made by both parties was that their backing out may have been questionable, and our keeping of money may have been challenged. We did what we did to move forward. We wanted to get the railroad back on the market,” he continued.
Drake said he expects the final report to be released within the next month.
The 36-mile line runs from Boardman to Darlington, Pa., and most of it is in Columbiana County.
This fall, the Ohio Rail Development Commission accepted a $900,000 loan repayment from the port authority, forgiving late fees and penalties so that the railroad could be marketed as a debt-free line.
Drake said there have been “entities who have expressed interest” in the railroad, especially because of the line’s strategic location in the shale-boom area.