Proposed railhead meeting

Patrick Anater, a principle consultant with CPCS Transcom, provides an overview of a Fort Hood multi-modal rail/truck transfer facility feasibility study with Copperas Cove city officials and local businesses during a stakeholder’s workshop at the Coryell County’s Justice Center on Tuesday. The proposed facility could mean an economic boost to the region and increase Fort Hood’s speed at deploying heavy equipment abroad during a surge in operations.

COPPERAS COVE — Copperas Cove city officials, leaders and several local stakeholders gathered for a second round of discussions and to gather public and local business input for the Fort Hood multi-modal rail/truck transfer facility study, during a workshop at the Coryell County’s Justice Center on Tuesday.

CPCS Transcom is conducting a feasibility study for the proposed facility on behalf of the Department of Defense, Coryell County and the Copperas Cove Economic Development Corporation. If constructed, the facility could provide economic development by attracting manufacturing and distribution jobs and generate tax revenue for the surrounding communities, proponents said. It would also satisfy Fort Hood’s need to increase its ability to rapidly deploy heavy equipment during a surge in operations abroad.

Patrick Anater, a principle consultant with CPCS, said the study was in its beginning stages.

“We’re in the beginning stages of this feasibility study for a joint use rail/truck facility in the Fort Hood region,” Anater said. “The purpose of that is Fort Hood needs surge capacity for any major deployments they might have, and they are looking for a joint use facility to offset the cost as well as benefit the region with private sector rail jobs.”

Anater said there are two possible locations for the construction of the facility.

“One is within Fort Hood itself near the railhead already and one is potentially part of a land swap outside the base west of Route 9,” Anater said.

Anater said the facility would require additional infrastructure to support rail line operations.

“It would definitely have to have access for trucks and we are looking at translocated abilities and how much staging capacity it would need depends on the next phase and what commodities make sense going through a rail facility like this based on the economy of the region itself,” Anater said.

Anater said the next phase is to determine the private sector feasibility.

“If it’s not feasible from a private sector point of view than there really is no sense in building it and spending that much money, otherwise Fort Hood would just build excess capacity for their surge,” Anater said. “We’ve identified preliminarily what the industries might be, but we haven’t finalized that yet.”

Anater said the study’s conclusion deadline is Dec. 15 and will be delivered to Coryell County Judge John Firth’s office because the Department of Defense grant funding ends.

Copperas Cove Mayor Frank Seffrood said he fully endorses the proposed facility.

“What I’d like to see out of this whole exercise is that we ensure we progress it, because if this expands and industry picks up, we’d have joint use of the railyard,” Seffrood said. “That would enhance our position in industry and we also have land adjacent to it that would be available to the private sector.”

Seffrood said the project would also benefit the average citizen in the community.

“This would be a source of revenue for the city because of the expanded industrial base and in the future, we could possibly form an industrial park in that part of the city and figure out a road network between the railroad and the airport,” Seffrood said.

The study is being paid for with a $270,000 grant from the Department of Defense, with contributions of $15,000 each from Copperas Cove and Coryell County.

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