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Port authority applies for $25 million grant

Money needed for Lordstown Smart Logistics Hub

To read the Western Reserve Port Authority’s $25 million federal grant application for the Lordstown Smart Logistics Hub project, click here

The initiative to transform state Route 45 into a smart corridor has a funding request in the hands of the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The Lordstown Smart Logistics Hub hopes to build on the energy next-generation technology and warehouse industry is creating in Lordstown and capitalize on its unique location — at the intersection of several modes of transportation — to position it as a premier distribution hub.

An application was made this week by the Western Reserve Port Authority, the lead agency among several trying for $25 million to do the project. A separate $1 million planning grant also is being sought.

Components of the proposal include:

• Intermodal rail connection at the Ohio Commerce Center to allow rail-truck container transfer;

• Electric automated truck circulator to the intermodal connection;

• Integrated electrified interchange along the Ohio Turnpike with inductive electric charging;

• Transfer yard with electric charging and automated vehicle transition / handoff;

• Fiber optic connection between BRITE Energy Innovators in downtown Warren to enhance smart mobility.

The application “outlines a strategic initiative to further enhance the exciting growth that the Lordstown area is experiencing,” port authority Executive Director John Moliterno said.

Already in Lordstown there is tons of momentum surrounding the more than $2 billion General Motors / LG Chem battery-cell plant and Lordstown Motors Corp., which hopes to start making battery-powered pickup trucks in early 2020. In addition, TJX Companies Inc. is building a more than 1 million-square-foot, approximately $170 million distribution center for its off-priced home decor retailer HomeGoods in the village.

Several local, state and out-of-state partners have come on board to secure $6.9 million in matching funds for the grant.

If successful, the grant would be the second BUILD — Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Developments — grant secured in the Mahoning Valley.

Already, Eastgate Regional Council of Governments received $10.8 million to improve downtown Youngstown. That project consists of self-driving shuttles, bicycle and pedestrian facilities, green infrastructure, streetscaping and wayfinding to connect major destinations in the downtown area.

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