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Inland port plans stalled, frustrating business community

Central New York Regional Economic Development Council
A map of the route to the inland port from the original proposal for the state’s economic development competition in 2015.";

The lack of progress on creation of an inland port in the Syracuse area is frustrating central New York business boosters.

CenterState CEO President Rob Simpson says in the last six months central New York has lost out on two big opportunities to create jobs, because of lack of an inland port.

"We’re seeing active leads, companies are talking to us in central New York about building major warehousing and distribution centers. And the first question out of their mouth is, we heard about this inland port, where is it? And now we don’t have a great answer to give them,” said Simpson.

It was something promised to be built by the end of last year in Jamesville, after central New York won an Upstate Revitalization Grant from New York state in 2015. But politics stalled movement on the plan when residents of the town of DeWitt balked at the idea of an inland warehouse and bulk cargo center in their backyard. Simpson says that means thousands of jobs lost in a region that has seen little economic growth in the past several years, and more stress on local agricultural producers and manufacturers because of increasing shipping costs. He says central New York is missing out on a potentially impactful economic development tool, with regional inland ports growing by leaps and bounds in other parts of the Eastern seaboard.

At this point Simpson says Camillus is a potential landing spot for the port, but wherever the location, something needs to happen soon.

"It’s time for us to break whatever political logjams exist, and we need to decide on a site, wherever that may be, and we need to make this happen.”

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.