Intermodal Could Mean Jobs

HOXIE (KAIT) - Lawrence county has much to offer industry and a new plan under development could bring jobs to the region.

The Hoxie/Walnut Ridge area has more than a hundred trains a day pass through. Not counting the trucks that run along the highways.

The term used is intermodal, as defined by.

Judge Alex Latham, "We've got all the interchanges, we gonna have air, we gonna have road, we have rail."

The towns of Hoxie and Walnut Ridge and Lawrence county are joining together to bring industry to the area.

Hoxie Mayor Donnie Roberts, "A regional site development just for our area here. It will consist of Lawrence, Randolph, possibly Clay county coming together and trying to do industrial development."

One of the big factors in attracting industry is transportation.

Latham, "We already have a lot of infrastructure here. We have 2 major railroads, 3, 412, 63,67. 91 we've got the airbase out here we got the runways, we have a lot of ingredients already in place that's gonna be good for us to attract things of that nature."

With land all ready for construction in the industrial park development should be easy to begin.

Roberts, "All the facilities are here for us to start the development now."

One of the biggest expenses of the plan will be cutting a rail spur from mainline Union Pacific and sending it over to the Walnut Ridge industrial park.

The spur will be owned by the intermodal authority.

All of this development boils down to one simple fact, that Lawrence county in fact all of the counties need.

Roberts, "Jobs, we're desperately needing jobs. Our residents here are having to drive 30 to 100 miles a day one way to work and if we can keep them here at home it'll be money in their pocket."

Latham, "If we can just latch on to 4 or 5 hundred or 6 hundred or even a thousand."

A tall order but the intermodal plan could attract that kind of industry. And not only is it good for the combined towns and counties, it's good for all.

Latham, "In reality it helps us all. Anything that happens to Northeast Arkansas can help us all greatly."

Although most of the infrastructure is already in.  Funding must still be secured for the rail spur and some other developments.

It is hoped the project will be in place within 5 years or less.