Grant Awarded for Inland Port Study
The Appalachian Regional Commission awarded a grant in the amount of $65,000 to the North Central Alabama Regional Council of Governments (NARCOG) for the completion of the North-Central Alabama Inland Port Feasibility Study. The study will identify and assess multiple sites within the NARCOG region which encompasses Cullman, Lawrence and Morgan counties. The study will also include portions of Limestone County which fall within the Top of Alabama Regional Council of Government’s (TARCOG) region.
“The timing of this study couldn’t be better,” said Robby Cantrell, Executive Director of NARCOG. The prospect of developing an inland port in the region is important as investment from the automotive and aviation industries continues to grow across the area and neighboring states. The Interstate 65 corridor is the primary north/south route for trucks moving goods from the Port of Mobile north as far as Chicago, Illinois. The CSX rail lines serving the Port of Mobile run nearly parallel to Interstate 65 and intersect with the east/west Norfolk Southern Railroad in Decatur. Locating an inland port within the NARCOG/TARCOG region would provide an important piece of the solution for addressing the ever-increasing volume of traffic moving goods in and out of the Port of Mobile.
“Our agency has tremendous support for this project” said Cantrell. Some of the project partners include the Alabama Mountains, Rivers, and Valleys Resource Conservation & Development Council (AMRV RC&D); the Morgan County Commission and economic development agencies including The Cullman County Industrial Development Authority; the Cullman Industrial Development Board; the Lawrence County Industrial Development Board; the Limestone County Economic Development Association and the Morgan County Economic Development Association. “Senator Arthur Orr has been on board with this project since the possibility of an inland port was first discussed a few years ago. He encouraged us to pursue the idea and has supported our efforts to secure funding for the study” Cantrell went on to say. These partners will provide an additional $55,000 in funding in addition to the $65,000 grant award, bringing the total project funding to $120,000.
The next step of the project will be issuing a Request for Proposal for the preparation of the North-Central Alabama Inland Port Feasibility Study. Cantrell expects the work to begin around June 1st with completion slated for the end of September of this year.