Railroad decision is a reprieve

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 4, 2006

The call from the governor Monday afternoon sure did seem like a death sentence reprieve &8212; and it just about is.

Canadian National has agreed to hold off abandoning its Natchez to Brookhaven rail line for at least one year, thanks in large part to the reopening of Georgia-Pacific&8217;s mills in Roxie and Gloster.

Those mills have been reopened after more than a year of dormancy to process the timber felled by Hurricane Katrina, and company officials have said they hope to keep the plants open indefinitely.

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The news gives Natchez and Adams County time to work on a deal to operate the rail line in the future &8212; and gives economic development officials a better bargaining chip as they look to lure industries.

As EDA chairman Woody Allen noted, industries often want to know about two things: the port and the railroad, the crucial means of transportation for many manufacturing companies.

Now that we have the time, we need to use it. We need to continue working with the Mississippi Department of Transportation, whose director Larry L. &8220;Butch&8221; Brown certainly knows how important the rail line is to his hometown, and we need to continue pressing industries to locate here in our community. When it comes to transportation and industry, we can&8217;t have one without the other.