SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - The Georgia Ports Authority along with federal and local officials held the official ceremonial groundbreaking Tuesday for a new rail expansion at the Port of Savannah.
The Mason Mega Rail project will deliver the largest intermodal rail facility for a port authority in North America, according to a release from the Georgia Ports.
The project will cost more than $126 million. It will be funded, in part, by a $44 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation.
With more cargo expecting to come up the Savannah River, Georgia Ports needs bigger facilities to support the growing supply.
"Being able to double our rail capacity from 500,000 lifts to 1,000,000 lifts a year is unheard of and it will be the single largest on terminal rail yard in the country," Georgia Ports Executive Director Griff Lynch said.
The facility will allow more rail trains to travel through the Port of Savannah, including direct rail service to cities in the Midwest.
"The nation is growing, manufacturing is growing, and they're going to need a way to get to the ports. We're going to be that way," Lynch said.
Garden City Mayor Don Bethune says his residents are also excited for the project.
"Whenever I have a town hall meeting, one of the biggest complaints I get is the trains. I have very little control over that," Bethune said.
But Bethune and Lynch say the new facility will help alleviate the traffic.
"The trains that are now bisecting Garden City will go around Garden City as a result of that," Lynch said.
Officials say, statewide, the added rail service will also take 200,000 trucks a year off the roads.
"This is going to be very good for Garden City and help alleviate that problem." Bethune said.
A fact sheet on the mega rail project was provided by the ports. You can read it below: