- Associated Press - Monday, December 17, 2018

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A long-awaited $15.6 million railroad facility is set to be built soon in Des Moines and will aid central Iowa’s economy, according to local officials.

The facility, also known as a railport, will enable materials to be transferred from semitrailers to trains, which ship products at a lower cost. The U.S. Department of Transportation recently awarded an $11.2 million grant for the project to the Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, the Des Moines Register reported.

Local officials hope the facility will create a more robust rail system and lower shipping costs. It will be built on the city’s southeast side next year, and the MPO expects to select a facility operator in January.

“It’s a huge opportunity for central Iowa,” Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie.

A University of Northern Iowa study found that the facility could have a $4.8 million annual economic impact and create 50 new jobs.



The city’s existing railport is only accessible to the Union Pacific railroad and can only handle plastic pellets, according to the MPO.

The new facility will be able to process multiple products, including grain, steel, lumber and cement.

“It will bring businesses to the Des Moines area, but it will also allow businesses that were already here to expand their operations as well,” said Todd Ashby, executive director of the MPO.

David Maahs, executive vice president of economic development for the Greater Des Moines Partnership, added: “It allows us to be competitive with other metropolitan areas in the Midwest that we often compete with for projects.”

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Information from: The Des Moines Register, http://www.desmoinesregister.com

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