After recent news that , the question remains whether the community is still in the running for a rail yard known as an "intermodal facility."
The rail yard would attract hundreds of trucks each day to swap containers of cargo with trains along CSX's main line.
Four sites are undergoing a required federal review process as CSX and the state of Maryland determine where to put the intermodal facility. The review involves studying the environmental impacts of building the project at each candidate location: Hanover and Race roads; Montevideo Road; Beltsville Agricultural Research Center; and Brock Bridge Road.
Hanover was the only location where CSX said it purchased land.
In 2010, the railroad on Hanover and Race roads.
Property owners, including a on Race Road, said CSX approached them around 2008 with interest in their land.
CSX said as of June 1 it had decided not to renew its options in Hanover because of the length of the federal review process.
According to the company's statement: “Based on discussions with the federal agency in charge...it is clear that the evaluation of potential sites for the proposed intermodal facility will take a long time. Therefore, CSX has made a business decision to release its existing contingent purchase agreements with property owners at the Race and Hanover Road site.”
There has been speculation by media and that CSX's decision to let its property options expire meant it was no longer considering the Hanover site.
However, all four sites “are still in the hunt,” said Doug Hecox, spokesman for Federal Highway Administration, the agency overseeing the federal review process.
The review process could take several years, according to Hecox, because the footprint of the site needed to build such a facility is so large.
"This is a lot of land that this route is going to be in or around," said Hecox. The state and CSX said that the site must be at least 70 acres.
Said Hecox: "That’s what makes it lengthy."
In addition, the Federal Highway Administration decided the project will require an "environmental impact statement," which is a comprehensive study that Hecox said could take years.
The state hopes to build the facility by 2015, when the Panama Canal widens and Baltimore anticipates an influx of freight.
“We don’t want to be hasty and encourage an environment of rubber-stamping,” said Hecox. “The [national review] process has only just begun a couple of months ago. This is going to take a long time to complete."