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GOVERNOR WARNER ANNOUNCES 400 NEW RAILROAD FREIGHT CAR MANUFACTURER JOBS IN ROANOKE
-Governor Warner announces $5.5 million investment in City of Roanoke-
RICHMOND - Governor Mark R. Warner today announced that FreightCar America, Inc. will lease a portion of Norfolk Southern’s East End shops in the City of Roanoke to manufacture railroad freight cars. By way of a $5.5 million investment, the project will create 400 new jobs in the next 30 months that include mechanical assemblers, welders and painters. Virginia successfully competed with Illinois and Indiana for the project.
“This project will re-energize an industry that has been a long-standing contributor to the economy of the Roanoke Valley,” said Governor Warner. “Virginia’s pro-business climate has again made a difference in securing an outstanding investment for the citizens of Roanoke.”
FreightCar America, Inc., which operated as Johnstown America, Inc. until Dec. 17, 2004, has manufactured quality railcars since 1901. The generations of employees responsible for creating its reputation for quality have made FreightCar America the largest manufacturer of aluminum railroad freight cars in the world, as well as a leading builder of steel and stainless steel cars. Since building one of the freight car industry’s first aluminum coal cars in 1985, the company has built more aluminum coal cars and introduced more new types of aluminum cars than all North American manufacturers combined. FreightCar America is headquartered in Chicago, Ill., and has current manufacturing facilities in Danville, Ill., and Johnstown, Pa.
“We are pleased and proud to make the Roanoke shops available for the production of high-quality freight cars,” said David R. Goode, Norfolk Southern chairman and chief executive officer. “By leasing our facility to FreightCar America, we are assuring that this prize asset remains productive and continues to contribute to the prosperity of the Roanoke Valley and the Commonwealth of Virginia.”
The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with the City of Roanoke to prepare the state’s proposal and negotiate an incentive package that secured the project for Virginia. Governor Warner approved a $200,000 grant from the Governor’s Opportunity Fund to assist the City of Roanoke with the project. The company is eligible to receive rail access funding through the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation. The Virginia Department of Business Assistance will provide training through its Workforce Services Program. The company also may be eligible to receive a Major Business Facility Jobs Tax Credit.
“Ensuring the successful redevelopment and reuse of our existing industrial sites is a major initiative of Vision 2001- 2020, our comprehensive plan,” said City of Roanoke Mayor Nelson Harris. “This project will expand our tax base, welcome a new business into our city that will provide employment opportunities for our citizens, and further the City’s partnerships that reflect our railroad heritage.”