40 Yards of Pipe for 3000 Jobs? Hardly.

Intermodal freight transportation is exploding around the country and Northwest Ohio is well-placed and well-equipped to handle cargo for the tri-state area. However, we need to be smart about how we encourage development around resources like Toledo Express. Governmental agencies like the Port Authority are working to entice logistics companies into building intermodal terminals at TOL, but they also must determine which development prospects are practical and which proposals will only drain the area's limited infrastructure improvement budget. After reviewing Brian McMahon's proposal, I feel it qualifies as the latter for the following reasons.

Lack of a rail connection

Intermodal means transportation by two or more modes of transit. Right now the McMahon site has access to only one mode of transit: Road. There is no rail spur or siding connecting the McMahon property to the Norfolk Southern line. The only side boundary of the McMahon site adjacent to the NS line is the quarry parcel and running a rail spur around the rim would be difficult, if not impossible.

No airside facilities

But what about air freight? Well, the McMahon property doesn't have access to the tarmac and the apron on the north side of the 7/25 is asphalt, not concrete. When you consider that concrete costs have shot up because the Chinese are buying all the cement they can get their hands on, the preexisting apron on the south side by BAX is much more appealing to a logistics company that might be looking to unify it's ground and air freight operations.

So if the McMahon property doesn't have access to the tarmac, all freight shipped via air will need to be transferred across Airport Hwy. That's why I stated that triple trailer access around the airport is important. If we want to expand beyond the 300 acres adjacent to the Turnpike, a waiver must be sought. Otherwise the advantage of the Turnpike is negated.

Size of the site

The McMahon property is a great site for a Yellow or Roadway transfer site, but it's much too small to hold a large-scale multimodal hub like he's proposing. By his own admission on WSPD, McMahon admitted that more land will need to be purchased to make this a reality. The McMahon group already owns 400 acres north of Airport Highway, but 100 acres of that land is occupied by a quarry, and is unsuitable for construction. 300 acres isn't nearly enough land for a container transfer facility.

So if they need more land, why did McMahon announce the intentions of his group BEFORE securing the parcels required? McMahon runs Danberry Real Estate so he knows that surrounding land prices shoot up when a large project is announced nearby. Unless this is McMahon's second week on the job, the only explanation is that his group is trying to pump and dump the property. They've held onto the property for 15 years without any return on investment and the real estate market has gone to crap. The speculators likely want their money out now and having city water and sewer service is the easiest and cheapest way for the McMahon group to raise the value of their property.

Bear in mind that while McMahon's group is willing to pay for the water connection, the payment will come in the form of assessments over many years. Of course they're willing to incur any costs: They won't be paying the assessments when they sell the land.

No movement for 15 years

I can't stress enough the fact that the McMahon group has controlled the land on the north side of Airport Hwy for almost two decades, yet no development has taken place. We haven't even heard any solid proposals, nor have any capital investors stepped up. Without secured capital, we'll end up with another Rossford Arena project where taxpayers are footing the bill for infrastructure improvements without any real prospects lined up.

Lack of experience

What experience does the McMahon group have in developing intermodal terminals? I've seen no announcements of partnerships, no numbers, not even a site plan. There has been more development in the Marina District than on the McMahon site. This would lead any rational person to question the abilities of the team working to transform that site into an intermodal hub.

So in addition to water lines, the following roadblocks remain between NWO and 3000 intermodal-related jobs:

1. No rail connection
2. No airside facilities
3. Not enough land
4. No capital investors
5. Leadership without intermodal development experience

I would be ecstatic if the only thing holding up 3000 jobs was 40 yards of pipe. If that were truly the case, I'd be over at Menard's right now buying the pipe myself. But it's disingenuous to blame the holdup on a truckload of pipe when there are serious concerns that have scared off potential investors for the past 15 years. 40 yards of pipe doesn't remedy the real problems with the McMahon site.

No votes yet

I wonder if these questions of yours are going to wander in the Fredward* direction?

Or is more softballing to be expected on the airwaves?

With enough money, ANYTHING can be built ANYWHERE. The question is, how much money must be spent to bring McMahon's property up to an operational standard?

At any rate, Czarty and his Toledo-based political structure has been using water access as a tool to control Lucas County. That's why the rest of Lucas County should appeal to the state legislature to let them split away from the poisonous (i.e. Toledo) part. The resulting Lucas County could then acquire water on its own basis using state law, and the new Toledo County can just go and fuck itself as it so richly deserves.

After all, we elected Crazy Carty again, and we failed to recall him. We must like to suffer, or something.

* There three cardinal directions for development in the NWO area: Forward, Backward, and Fredward. The first direction results in successful development. The second direction results in stalled development. The third direction results in claims of successful development no matter how many facts exist to the contrary.

As a heads up for you, Richard Martinko of the University of Toledo Intermodal Institute will be my guest Thursday morning. Richard is a professional engineer and was involved in my recent meeting with the Port Authority. I wish all of you could be at these meetings and have access to the information that we have at the radio station. I will continue to give you as much as I can each morning and Brian of course adds to it in the afternoon. But as in all cases there are naysayers in every crowd.

Any statement I make is the opinion of me exercising my first amendment right to freedom of speech. Freedom of speech in the United States is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and is generally permitted.

So, we have one site that is a problem, is this correct?

"No movement for 15 years

I can't stress enough the fact that the McMahon group has controlled the land on the north side of Airport Hwy for almost two decades, yet no development has taken place. We haven't even heard any solid proposals, nor have any capital investors stepped up. Without secured capital, we'll end up with another Rossford Arena project where taxpayers are footing the bill for infrastructure improvements without any real prospects lined up."

Naysaying? Or questioning the intent and viability of the parcel owner to get the job done.

thank you for posting this. One issue though, they are saying it is only water holding them back. It does not cost the taxpayers anything to give them water, because the property owners will pay for it, so what is there to lose? Right now this seems like more of a better chance of getting done than the marina district because Toledo housing and retail is just plain in the dumps right now. This is hot and will be. So, even though there are these concerns, I think the potential outweighs the concerns especially when you have developers who are putting up their own money for the project and not asking for handouts like the steam plant, marina district and many other places. Heck, if everyone did agree, maybe it should become a tax-free zone and the businesses will just sprout up like weeds there. But that requires too much cooperation.......

I just wanted to get the point across that the project being touted on the radio and in the Toledo blogosphere isn't a sure thing just waiting on water service.

I heard a blurb at the end of Brian Wilson's show today about a letter to Council from Carty where he wrote that McMahon was out to profit off the water connection or something like that. Of course he is and he should be. There's nothing wrong with real estate speculation and if I had money I'd be buying land out at the airport as well. But the city has other priority besides raising the land value of a few parcels. A water connection can be added within days of any construction permit filings, so in this situation the city is calling McMahon's bluff. He's hoping that the group eventually gives up and sells their land to someone who will develop the parcels.

That area has so much potential it boggles the mind how it hasn't been exploited yet. There is a wide open expanse of concrete just calling out to cargo companies with hubs in Detroit, saying, "Come, engorge yourselves on our triple trailer access from Youngstown to Chicago."

There is still work to be done for the full potential of TOL to be realized, but none are deal breakers. Doable projects like an extension to the crosswind runway and relocating the tenants on the north side of 7/25 are really the only thing between Toledo Express and Toledo Success.

Sorry, that was too cheesy to pass up.

"Show me a man who lives alone and has a perpetually dirty kitchen, and
five times out of nine I'll show you an exceptional man." -Charles

There's a city full of walls you can post complaints at

The differences between here and N. Baltimore, N. Baltimore planned for the day when a company would want to expand and set up.

The planning was done in advance and not as an after thought or to chase or entice a business.

The reports about the N. Baltimore set out why the rail companies set up in that area and not here.

You can hear Brian M's response at:


The first podcast listed.

... to see Czarty being a barrier once again.

But that's the point. We have a clinically crazy mayor whom WE elected once again and whom WE failed to recall. So it only and logically follows that he can do whatever nutty, asinine thing that strikes him to do.

I don't understand how Fred and the rest think that public pressure will somehow work with Czarty. He defies on all levels ... in the Council chambers, in the courts, in his office and in the newspaper. He has more balls than brains (and since he has no brains, it only takes a little bit of balls to qualify).

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