State to fund rail work at potential 'cracker' site in Beaver County
By Tony LaRussa
Published: Friday, Feb. 24, 2012
Gov. Tom Corbett has earmarked $490,000 for rail improvements at a Beaver County industrial park that has been mentioned as a possible location for a "cracker" plant that is expected to attract billions of dollars in investment and create thousands of jobs.
Royal Dutch Shell plc has been scouting locations in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia since it announced plans in June to build a chemical plant fueled by natural gas that takes ethane from shale gas and reduces it to ethylene, which is used in plastics.
A request for a state grant to improve the rail lines in the Aliquippa Industrial Park was made "a long time" before the site was discussed as a possible location for the cracker plant, said state Sen. Elder Vogel Jr., R-Beaver.
But getting the money won't hurt prospects for landing the project, he said.
"Work to make that site more attractive to industry has been going on for quite a while and improving the rail lines is part of that effort," Vogel said. "Certainly such an improvement would help make the industrial park more attractive for a cracker plant."
Corbett on Thursday announced $33 million in state grants for rail and airport projects across the state.
State and local officials have touted the Aliquippa Industrial Park as an ideal site for the cracker because it has many of the attributes Shell is seeking, such as 350 to 400 acres and access to the river and freight rail lines.
A number of government officials who were asked whether the governor's grant was a direct effort to land the cracker plant cited a confidentiality agreement they were asked to sign by Royal Dutch Shell.
Steve Kratz, a spokesman for the state Department of Community and Economic Development, said members of his agency are bound by the agreement.
While he declined to speak specifically about the proposed Shell cracker, he said "any infrastructure improvements help when competing for manufacturing and other industries."Additional Information:
Other train, plane grants
Rail: Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway Co. -- $1.6 million for repair and construction of tracks, ties and turnouts; Fay-Penn Industrial -- $1.5 million for track construction for a rail/truck facility in Smithfield; Westmoreland County Industrial Development Corp. -- $1.1 million for track and switch installation and bridge and drainage improvements.
Airport: Pittsburgh International Airport -- $2 million to help build a stormwater treatment plant; Butler County Airport -- $1 million to replace the terminal's mechanical systems and the roof and siding on the maintenance hangar; Indiana County/Jimmy Stewart Airport -- $1.5 million to help relocate and extend a runway.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Garden Q&A: Firecracker vine OK for trellis?
- Starkey: Penguins’ arrogance astounding
- Matt Calvert’s goal in double OT evens series for Blue Jackets
- A-K Valley high school notebook: Deer Lakes, Freeport to pick up where they left off
- Second-period short-handed goal gives Blue Jackets momentum
- Tax law proves its worth by bringing in lost revenue
- Late Arnold baseball coach was tough, fair
- Mail for IRS delivered to Squirrel Hill home
- Penguins’ Gibbons scores twice but leaves with apparent injury
- 1 remains in hospital after knife fight in New Kensington apartment
- Unbeaten Arizona outlasts Power, 73-69