The State of Tennessee has been asked in the name of the residents of Clarksville, Montgomery County and Stewart County Tennessee to issue a grant for the refurbishment of the RJ Corman Railroad bridge. This bridge passes over Riverside Drive in Clarksville before it crosses the Cumberland River on it’s journey to the TVA’s Cumberland City Power Plant in Stewart County. Both the railroad and the bridge are privately owned and operated by the RJ Corman Railroad Group LLC, a for profit company.
The Montgomery County Rail Service Authority requested a $1.5 million dollar transportation enhancement grant from the State Department of Transportation for this project. The grant uses federal funds administered by the state with matching local funds (80% Federal /20% Local). This would involve approximately $300,000 in matching local funds (state, county, city). This grant was spearheaded by a consultant for the RJ Corman Company who wrote it up and brought it to the county.
Why is the RJ Corman Company not being required to pay all or a significant portion of the refurbishment costs for it’s bridge. The taxpayers are basically being asked to give the RJ Corman company corporate welfare. Sure, the county is asking for the grant, which is mostly free money as far as they are concerned, but in the end it still comes out of the taxpayers pockets.
The bridge could be reasonably called an eye sore, due to its current state. It is past the time to require the RJ Corman Company to perform the maintenance, that they should have been doing all along.
If the city or county wants other additions such as specific paint colors or additional decorative lighting, then of course they should contribute towards the cost of those improvements, but sandblasting and painting should be the sole responsibility of owners of the bridge, the RJ Corman Company.
If we pay for the maintenance this time, we will likely end up paying for it from now on. The RJ Corman Company will have no interest in paying to maintain their bridge when they know that the city, county, and state will do it for them, for free.
|R.J. CORMAN RAILROAD Co.|
|LOCAL OFFICE:||R. J. Corman Railroad Company
145 East 1st Street
PO Box 337
Guthrie, KY 42234
|RAILROAD AUTHORITY:||Montgomery County Rail Service Authority
Montgomery County Courthouse
PO Box 368
Clarksville, TN 37041-0368
|PRINCIPLE CONNECTIONS:||CSX Transportation-Bowling Green and Guthrie, KY|
|AREA SERVED:||This line runs from Bowling Green through Guthrie, KY to Cumberland City, TN and on the Logan Branch, a total distance of 92 miles. It runs approximately 35 miles into Montgomery and Stewart Counties of Tennessee.|
|PRINCIPLE SHIPPERS:||Logan Aluminum, Precision Strip, Quebecor World, Zinifex Clarksville, Inc. and Standard Gypsum.|
|COMMODITIES CARRIED:||Aluminum, steel, paper, sulfuric acid, grain, fertilizer, and dry wall|
|TOTAL INDUSTRIES SERVED:||36|
|TOTAL CARLOADS:||16,480 per year|
|EQUIPMENT:||52 locomotives, 138 boxcars, 90 bulkhead flat cars, 12 hopper cars, 2 gondolas|
|BRIEF HISTORY:||RJ Corman Railroad purchased this line in 1987 from CSX Transportation.|