Baltimore County News
Sparrows Point could become the East Coast hub for renewable wind energy. Baltimore County has applied for a federal grant to support infrastructure upgrades at the former Sparrows Point shipyard to accommodate assembly, fabrication and shipping for the offshore wind industry.
“It’s critical that we support sources of clean, renewable energy – for our health, to protect our fragile environment and increase energy independence. From an economic standpoint, Baltimore County can lead the way as the center for a new clean energy industry that builds, assembles and distributes offshore wind products,” said Baltimore County Executive Kamenetz. “We’re talking new jobs, new investment and leadership in a new American industry.”
Construction and permanent jobs
If the $26 million federal grant is approved, the WIND START project could bring as many as 1,200 construction jobs and over 900 permanent jobs to the Sparrows Point peninsula.
The project could jumpstart Baltimore County as the Atlantic hub for assembling and shipping the blades, towers, generators and cables necessary for offshore windmills.
The grant application to the U.S. Department of Transportation makes the case for the WIND START intermodal transportation project on 15-acres of the Sparrows Point peninsula. Sparrows Point Shipyard LLC and their partner US Wind would upgrade piers and bulkheads, staging areas and ship-to-road access to support offshore wind development.
Clean energy in the Sparrows Point Partnership vision
“We’re competing for new business and jobs wherever we can. Clean energy has been part of our vision for Sparrows Point since 2013, when the County’s Sparrows Point Partnership developed a blueprint for maximizing the potential for this unique peninsula. No single East Coast location has the same level of waterfront, large storage areas and transportation access as the Sparrows Point peninsula,” added Kamenetz.
The Baltimore County Department of Economic and Workforce Development submitted the application for the 2016 Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
In a letter to U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz offered full support for the State’s grant application for improvements to the CSX freight rail line through the Howard Street Tunnel in Baltimore.
“This rail/port project is vital to our ability to maximize container shipping from the Port of Baltimore and the global logistics center at Tradepoint Atlantic on the Sparrows Point peninsula,” said County Executive Kamenetz.
Below is the letter of support from Baltimore County Executive Kamenetz:
On behalf of Baltimore County, I offer our full support for the Maryland Department of Transportation’s grant application for improvements to the CSX freight rail line through the Howard Street Tunnel in Baltimore.
The opportunity of double-stacked container rail service through the Port of Baltimore terminals is close at hand as the Panama Canal widening concludes later this year. With our deep water and on-dock rail advantages, our port is poised to bring in the massive “panamax” ships and greatly increase port business. The ability to fix our rail tunnel bottleneck will also give relief to road congestion along the I-95 corridor. It’s a rare chance to increase family-supporting jobs while reducing commuter traffic in a single project.
As an enormous player in the port economy, Baltimore County has significant interest in this rail/port project. At the 3,100 acre Sparrows Point peninsula, we are helping Tradepoint Atlantic rebuild the former Bethlehem Steel short-line railroad and upgrade the intermodal yard that connects to both CSX and Norfolk Southern. This will complement the site’s unique deep water port access and will provide room for future port expansion.
Double-stack rail will truly unlock the potential of the nation's newest and largest global logistics center in eastern Baltimore County.
Through the FASTLANE grant program, the $160 million in Federal support enables a cost effective option to reduce transportation costs, promote greater capacity, ensure a cleaner environment, and create jobs in our port and logistics economy. We stand with the State of Maryland and our Port partners to drive the CSX Howard Street Tunnel project forward.
Department of Economic and Workforce Development
A new Chesapeake Enterprise Zone and Foreign Trade Zone are leading to major private investments and jobs. Learn more in this short video.
Revised April 6, 2016