Title

DEVELOPING A PROPOSAL FOR A MULTI-USER INTERMODAL FREIGHT TERMINAL AS A PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP: LESSONS LEARNED ABOUT PUBLIC AND PRIVATE PERSPECTIVES, TIMING, AND ROLES

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

1999

Subject Area

economics - benefits, organisation - competition, mode - rail, mode - subway/metro

Keywords

Twin Cities Metropolitan Area (Minnesota), Terminals (Transportation), Site selection, Railroad terminals, Public private partnerships, Placement (Location), Perspective views, Market share, Market assessment, Location, Locating, Intermodal terminals, Freight terminals, Economic benefits, Depots (Transportation), Decision making, Competition

Abstract

Intermodal rail terminals are an important part of an integrated freight transportation system. The location of intermodal terminals often has depended on where railroads had spare land adjacent to freight-rail lines. But many of these locations are less than ideal in terms of surrounding land uses and offer little scope for expansion as intermodal traffic grows. A study undertaken in Minnesota to evaluate the need for new or expanded intermodal terminal facilities in the Twin Cities metropolitan area is described. The process was funded by the metropolitan planning organization for the Twin Cities region, the state department of transportation, and three private railroad carriers. It involved a series of studies to determine the market for an intermodal facility, to locate a site and develop a proposal for a multi-user terminal, and to assess the terminal's economic benefits for the region. Several lessons were learned during this public-private partnership process; these are useful for other metropolitan areas considering freight needs. The public and private sectors bring different perspectives to the development process, and coordinating their decision making is a challenge. It is crucial to obtain and to maintain appropriate and timely access to decision makers. The competitive positions of carriers must be assessed and the project's impact on the relative market share among them will be critical. Given the lack of support by the railroads to develop a joint-use intermodal facility, as recommended in the study, neither the railroads nor the development community was willing to implement the project.