GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -- A few hundred yards of railroad under construction in Columbia County will lead to thousands of jobs in the next few years. We'll show you how the railroad which will cross highway 90 and go directly into the currently un-constructed mega industrial park is the first phase to bringing major manufacturers to North Central Florida.
They're building a rail spur which will connect a main rail line to the mega industrial park. Columbia County's Economic Development Director Glenn Hunter says companies are already showing interest.
"The railroad keeps going back and forth but the rail spur goes off to the side so you can deliver the goods off to the side so you don't interrupt the main run for the railroad under its timelines."
The 26-hundred acre mega industrial site is supported by State grants to improve Columbia County's rural economy.
Hunter explained, "this site is one of the few sites certified by the State of Florida where the State of Florida is working with small rural counties especially in North Florida. The purpose is to bring industry and jobs to small rural communities with big dollars for capital investment."
Thousands of jobs says Hunter, "3000 jobs may have as many as 4-5-6 thousand indirect jobs and many other services and businesses that will benefit off that. The tax base and economic impact are huge."
Hunter says they're already seeing interest from manufacturers who could be ready to start building as soon as the rail spur is complete.
"In the past, we only courted a few people and now at this point, we're actually doing the dance. We're working with 12 projects but we have 3 that are extremely interested in developing here.
The phase 1 plan which requires building the railroad across highway 90 should take 6 months to complete. It will give the site a direct connection to Jacksonville, Atlanta and even New Orleans.