LCSN: New Mexico politicians praise $400 million Union Pacific rail facility in Santa Teresa

May 28, 2014. Retrieved online DATE from Vic Kolenc, Las Cruces Sun-News

[Excerpts below reprinted with permission: Read the complete Las Cruces Sun-News article]

New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez, right, drives a ceremonial golden spike with U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., Chihuahua, Mexico Gov. Cesar Duarte and state Rep. Jane Powdrell-Culbert, R-Corrales, far left, during Wednesday's grand opening for the Union Pacific Intermodal Terminal in Santa Teresa. (Photo by Rudy Gutierrez—El Paso Times)

New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez, right, drives a ceremonial golden spike with U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., Chihuahua, Mexico Gov. Cesar Duarte and state Rep. Jane Powdrell-Culbert, R-Corrales, far left, during Wednesday’s grand opening for the Union Pacific Intermodal Terminal in Santa Teresa. (Photo by Rudy Gutierrez—El Paso Times)

SANTA TERESA >> New Mexico politicians showered Union Pacific officials with accolades Wednesday during the official christening of the railroad’s new, $400 million, 2,200-acre rail facility in Santa Teresa, which officials expect to bolster economic development in this region for years to come.

The 300-acre, high-tech intermodal terminal, opened April 1, is expected to process more than 170,000 freight containers this year. It is to be expanded in future years to eventually handle 700,000 containers a year. The huge containers from West Coast ship ports and inland terminals in Chicago and other metro areas bring goods and materials for stores and factories on both sides of the border, and also take goods from area factories to other areas of the country.

Union Pacific Chief Executive Officer Jack Koraleski said the new facility is making Santa Teresa “a strategic focal point for goods movement in the southwest United States.”

The new intermodal facility will allow the railroad to grow its freight business in this region because its old El Paso facilities could not be expanded, Koraleski said.

A steady stream of trucks haul the containers in and out of the Santa Teresa hub via the new, six-mile state-built Strauss Road. The trucks can get through the mostly automated intermodal terminal in an average one to two minutes, Koraleski said. The national average for intermodal truck processing is five to six minutes, he said. The facility is called intermodal because the containers can be placed on trucks, trains, or ships.

The state Legislature’s passage of a bill exempting Union Pacific from paying locomotive fuel tax was a key piece to get Union Pacific to build the facility, officials said. That bill was signed by Martinez in March 2011. Construction began in the summer of that year.

A series of land swaps between the state, federal government, and Union Pacific allowed the railroad to acquire the 2,200 acres in Santa Teresa, most of it owned by the Bureau of Land Management, reported New Mexico Public Regulation Commissioner Pat Lyons.


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