With New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez signing a law Tuesday that gives Union Pacific Railroad an exemption from state fuel taxes, UP said it will begin construction in June on a major intermodal and locomotive refueling complex there.
UP is expected to spend about $417 million to build an intermodal switching yard at Santa Teresa - just inside New Mexico near El Paso, Texas - plus an intermodal ramp for regional traffic, a fueling facility for its trains, and crew change buildings.
The company said the construction phase should generate about 3,000 jobs this year to 2015, and when the site runs at full capacity in 2025 it should employ over 600.
Some estimates put the state's lost fuel tax revenue from the UP exemption around $1.9 million a year, and some say it would be higher. UP says its investment plan for the New Mexico facilities will give the state an overall economic impact over $500 million.
"Our strategic investment in this new facility helps improve capacity and enhance efficiency on a key part of our network," said James R. Young, UP's chairman, president and CEO.
The facility will be on 2,200 acres just west of the Santa Teresa Airport. Its intermodal ramp will have an annual lift capacity of up to 250,000 containers. UP had initially planned the facility years ago but delayed it until market conditions were ripe. It already included this year's part of the project in its $3.2 billion 2011 capital spending plan, but said implementation depended on the state's fuel tax action.
The carrier needs to modernize and expand from its El Paso operations which serve intermodal and other rail traffic moving to and from Mexico, and connects with U.S. main line tracks going to Southern California or up to Chicago. UP says it will continue operating at El Paso after developing the Santa Teresa complex. Young said the plans also illustrate UP's "long-term commitment to deliver premium service to our customers."
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