Freight Rail Network Improvement
Rail Network improvements within Hamilton County, Tennessee’s Enterprise South Industrial Park (ESIP) are crucial to expand rail capabilities in anticipation of substantial growth and rail traffic volume projections by manufacturers located within the complex, namely Volkswagen and Archer Daniels Midland (ADM). By separating conflicting freight movements on an already capacity constrained rail network, increasing trackage to handle longer trains and more volume, adding redundancy on existing routes and reconstructing a railcar repair facility, Enterprise South Industrial Park’s rail network will be positioned to handle the significant increases in rail shipments.
These improvements are necessary to allow the network to carry the projected increases in rail shipments from Volkswagen’s only United States assembly plant, which are expected to rise from on average 20 railcars daily to over 70 per day within three years. If the rail network cannot handle the increased volume, the only alternative to using the rail network is to put over 200 additional trucks per day on the local highway system increasing congestion and slowing the flow of traffic in the area. Current operations are already being impacted on days of peak shipping by Volkswagen while simultaneously switching the Archer Daniels Midland facility.
Hamilton County has applied for a $5.6 million BUILD (Better Utilizing Investment for Local Development) Grant from the United States Department of Transportation. The total project is to pay for railroad capacity improvements at a cost of $14.3 million. The Department of Transportation competitive grant programs look for local support in matching their funds. Thus, Hamilton County will be seeking $8.6 million from state, local, industry and other sources to leverage the federal funds.