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The former General Motors site in Massena. Photo: RACER Trust
The former General Motors site in Massena. Photo: RACER Trust

Will CSX grease the rails for a new plant in Massena?

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The federal trust in charge of finding a new life for the General Motors property in Massena say the process is more marathon than sprint. But as David Sommerstein reports, they're hopeful a lift from a railroad giant will help.

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CSX is one of the East Coast’s main freight railroads. It has a program called CSX Select Site, basically a brand saying, companies…this is where you want to build a factory.

There are currently 10 CSX Select Sites. None are in the Northeast. Massena has submitted an application for the old General Motors Powertrain site to be #11.

"To be one of ten or eleven sites on their webpage opens us up to a number of different end users that use CSX or do business with CSX," says Patricia Spitzley, deputy redevelopment manager for the RACER Trust. RACER is charged with finding new uses for old GM sites the federal government now owns as a part of the GM bailout in 2009.

Spitzley says she’s been talking with CSX officials about the site designation for a year already, and there’s still more analysis and a site to visit to come.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand wrote a letter to CSX in support of the designation. And the local Redevelopment Task Force also supports the effort.

Spitzley says RACER’s been courting Canadian firms most heavily, "We’re right on the St. Lawrence River. We’re right next to a hydrodam that provides hydroelectricity and energy. Again, we’re right next to the international border. We have the infrastructure that’s the there that industrial end users would find very attractive."

RACER is trying to get a company to build a brand-new factory on the site when a $120-million pollution cleanup is complete in three years.

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