Leaders Seek 'Economic Boost' From New Gulf to Gadsden Freight Zone

LIBERTY COUNTY, Fla. - Leaders in Gulf, Gadsden, Liberty, and Franklin counties want to bring more economic opportunity to the Panhandle.

On Tuesday, the four-county coalition met at the Georgia-Pacific Corporation in Liberty County to announce the establishment of the 'Gulf to Gadsden Freight Logistics Zone'.

The new zone was created to maximize freight transportation by rail, air, and sea - while also attracting new businesses and bringing new jobs.

"It will be a good economic boost to this area. Right now we don't have a lot of jobs and it'll be good paying jobs, and that's what we're working for. We're all striving for that," said Gulf County Commissioner Chair Ward McDaniel.

McDaniel wants to also re-open a rail in the county.

"Gulf County has a natural deep water port, it also has a rail there that we're trying to get the rail reactivated."

Liberty County needs the new zone as well.

"Liberty County is hurtin' for economic development and I think this is a step forward," said County Commissioner James Sanders.

Sanders believes the freight zone will also compliment new businesses.

"This saw mill that's coming will be a influence on gettin' the track running and gettin' the port in St. Joe put out, so most of their products to be exported," said Sanders. 

The Apalachicola Northern Railway connects all four counties.

Leaders say once infrastructure in each county is in place, they will move forward with the freight logistics zone. 

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