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Manlius may become major hub

Talks regarding the construction of an intermodal transportation center are gaining momentum in the town of Manlius. Board members briefly discussed the proposed project, which has been in the works for at least three years, at the town board's Aug. 26 meeting.

Jeff and Thelma Standart, owners of a California trucking company called XRT Express Reefer Transport, have set their sights in the town of Manlius for a cargo container distribution center. The facility would be located on approximately 80 acres, north of the CSX tracks and east of Girden Road, which borders the towns of DeWitt and Manlius.

The objective is to bring in 400 to 500 containers per day by train from ports such as New York City and New Jersey, more than doubling the amount of containers CSX operations currently handle on a daily basis. This would be done without the addition of freight trains even though more containers would be en route through Syracuse. Tetley said they would just be longer trains.

"The construction of this center could have many benefits for Manlius," Tetley said. "The project has an estimated assessed value of $80 million including equipment [and] having a distribution center by the CXS train yards would alleviate truck traffic through the villages because they would be rerouted to 481."

Additionally, Manlius would establish itself as a major distribution hub in the Northeast and the totally "green" project would create more than 200 new jobs in the area.

Disadvantages, according to Tetley, would include more activity at the rail yard, noise and truck traffic on Kirkville Road.

The Onondaga County Industrial Development Agency, along with Regional Planning, a five-county industrial development agency, is conducting a feasibility study to determine potential profit and loss.

In the meantime, the town is currently reviewing an application process to become a sponsor for a $26 million Transportation Infrastructure Generating Economic Recovery grant, which is part of the federal stimulus. Tetley said the town has questions about the TIGER grant such as what its responsibilities would be if the grant were obtained. The application deadline is Sept. 15.

According to town attorney Tim Frateschi, the project looks to be heading in the direction of a public/private partnership.

The Manlius Town Board anticipates representatives of VIP Structures, the project consultant for construction and design, to make a detailed presentation at the next board meeting Wednesday Sept. 9. Interested parties should call the town at 637-3414 to confirm the agenda prior to attending.

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