Toledo Express Airport overhaul could boost area as shipping hub

Second of two parts

Twenty years ago, Forth Worth was in a similar spot as Toledo.

Fort Worth's chief industry - the U.S. military - had left town and elected leaders were looking for another industry to support the medium-sized city on the outskirts of Dallas.

Their solution? To expand their local airport into an inland port, serving as a distribution point for much of the lower half of the United States.

The port authority's Mr. Hartung said he has pitched the western Lucas County site Mr. McMahon favors to Norfolk Southern as a potential classification and distribution facility for intermodal freight traveling to or from the West Coast.

Locating such a terminal in northwest Ohio, he said, would position it to handle cargo Norfolk Southern exchanges with western railroads in either Chicago or Kansas City, with the latter gateway offering an opportunity to bypass Chicago's notorious congestion.

"If somebody came to us with a plan to relocate our Toledo operation out to the airport and it didn't cost Norfolk Southern any money, it would be something we would look at," he said.

In order to develop the airport, local governments will also have to sink dollars into infrastructure improvements and environmental mitigations.

Robert Reinbolt, chief of staff to Mayor Carty Finkbeiner, said Friday the city administration is willing to extend city water to land around the airport once a tax-sharing agreement is in place with Monclova and Swanton townships and a firm development proposal is on the table.

"You don't have to build a new turnpike interchange at the airport," Mr. McMahon said.

"At the end of the day we can find a way to do this, and probably minimize the impact on the taxpayers, although the taxpayers will be the long-term beneficiaries of it," he said.

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