Port to decide on continuing intermodal study funding

WARREN – The Western Reserve Port Authority will decide today if it wants to keep studying the feasibility of a intermodal facility at the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport.

The board will vote today on putting another $10,000 to continue exploring a development agreement with a short rail operator and to look into funding for construction of new railroad lines.

”You have to see if there is interest on the part of operators out there also to prove the feasibility,” airport aviation director Dan Dickten said.

The original $10,000 agreement with Hamman was approved by the board in February.

Dickten described the study as a continuation of a review done for the board by Silverlode Consulting Group, which released in January a study showing the extension of a rail line to the airport would create a new economic development asset that might help attract and keep businesses in the area.

The report indicated that ”air-rail linkages are unlikely,” but suggested there are other advantages to developing the rail, including producing increased industrial development near the airport in Vienna. The report, Dickten said, proved the feasibility of four ”transload” sites in Trumbull County, but did not ”really specify” if the airport was on the list.

The potential for the rail extension is being explored largely due to the growing oil and gas businesses.