Proposed Rail Project Continues to Generate Steam

The Bredesen administration's economic and transportation team is caught up in the controversy over an inter-modal facility proposed by Norfolk Southern in New Market. Local residents and environmentalists argue they should use a brownfield or existing industrial park rather than take prime farmland for the project.

Look for Gov. Phil Bredesen to recommend a regional study by experts to determine which of several proposed sites are best for the railroad and the taxpayers, and come up with a recommendation. The state has told the railroad it stands ready to do whatever it can to help locate the facility, which will help get long-haul trucks off the road and reduce air pollution. But what's cheapest for the railroad may not be the best deal for the taxpayers. Opponents of the New Market site point out that an existing Norfolk Southern site, like John Sevier Yards, is at Interstate 640 and another proposed site in Greene County is on I-81. The New Market site is 12 miles from I-40.