A groundbreaking ceremony was held Nov. 8 for Florida's Winter Haven Intermodal Rail Terminal.
According to an economic impact study conducted by HDR Engineering, construction of the Evansville Western Railway (EVWR) terminal is projected to create up to 8,500 annual jobs and generate more than $10 billion in economic development throughout a 10-year period.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott said, “My number one priority is to create jobs for Florida families. This groundbreaking means more jobs, more opportunities for our communities, and underscores Florida’s importance in global commerce. We have more work to do, but we are clearly on the right track for greater job creation.”
The Winter Haven Rail Terminal will be constructed and operated by EVWR, an affiliate of Jacksonville-based CSX Transportation. The terminal will serve CSX’s growing intermodal business and allow CSX to serve customers in Orlando, Tampa and South Florida.
The terminal will be built on 318 acres and will include five 3,000-ft. loading tracks and two 10,000-ft. arrival and departure tracks. The tracks will be spanned by three electric Rail-Mounted Gantry (RMG) cranes that will unload and load trains. The use of electric cranes instead of diesel-powered cranes will help reduce noise and emissions. The 318-acre terminal is adjacent to 930 acres that CSX has an option to purchase from the city of Winter Haven. The intermodal terminal will serve as a magnet for the development of distribution centers, warehousing and manufacturing facilities on the adjacent property.
Together, the two properties will form the Winter Haven Integrated Logistics Center (ILC), which will be a critical asset for economic development in Florida.
Construction of the Evansville Western Railway terminal will create an estimated 200 construction jobs. EVWR and its contractors have partnered with the local workforce development board, Polk Works, to identify qualified local suppliers and subcontractors to provide jobs and supplier opportunities.
According to the economic impact study, the estimated 8,500 annual jobs will have a total payroll of more than $282.2 million. During a 10-year period, the ILC is projected to generate more than $10 billion in economic development and add $900 million in state and federal tax revenue.
The Winter Haven Rail Terminal is expected to be operational by May 2014.