Smith Transport breaks ground for another project at Vail

This Friday morning, August 30, at 11 a.m., Martin J. Marasco, President and CEO of the Altoona-Blair County Development Corporation, announced the latest expansion for Smith Transport. The proposed project entails the acquisition of Lots 2 (3.548 acres) and 3 (9.341 acres) in the Robert C. Jubelirer Business Park located along the I-99 Innovation Corridor (Old US Route 220) and construction of a 250,000 square foot building.
The project cost is estimated at $7.3 million and will be financed by a combination of funding through Hollidaysburg Trust Company ($4,820,000), a $1,750,000 Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority loan that was secured through ABCD Corp., a $150,000 loan from the Southern Alleghenies Planning and Development Commission, and a company investment of $240,000. The project is the second by Smith Transport in the Robert C. Jubelirer Business Park.
The facility will enable Smith Transport to meet their customers’ needs for flexible warehousing and distribution space. When complete, Smith Transport will have 500,000 square feet of modern distribution facility under roof. This kind of growth vision is indicative of Smith’s desire to have a strong presence in the Mid-Atlantic market.
This project will result in the creation of 75 new jobs within a three-year period, which is in addition to the 81 Smith Transport employees currently associated with this site. Distribution will be an important industry and job creation engine in the I-99 Innovation Corridor.
A groundbreaking ceremony was conducted with the likes of Representative Larry O. Sather, Senator/Lieutenant Governor Robert C. Jubelirer, Representative Jerry Stern, and Congressman Bill Shuster in attendance. Tyrone Mayor, Pat Stoner, County Commissioner Donna Gority, Jerry Spangler of the I-99 Enterprise Zone Committee, and Jim Chronister and Jim Daughenbaugh from Snyder Township were other local notables attending the ceremony.
Bob Becker, Senior Vice President of Smith Transport, shared Smith Transport’s vision to the audience. “We are so fortunate that these people have supported us for many years,” said Becker. “Because of their support and assistance Barry Smith (President of Smith Transport Company) is going to be able to live his dream of growing and building his company one distribution center at a time, and one truck at a time here in Blair County.”
Becker continued, “We are so fortunate to have people like Barry Smith who 30 years ago teamed along with Lieutenant Governor/Senator Bob Jubelirer and the state representatives and local representatives and business people like Dean McKnight and Chuck Whitfield.” He added, “They had the vision and saw the future of this community to build it to the present and future generations.”
State Representative Larry O. Sather, 81st District, spoke of the importance of the location of Smith Transport’s expansion. “The location is a prime importance because of the fact that we have had economic development distress, but we’ve turned the corner,” said Sather. “They’re saying the expansion here will offer 75 additional jobs and we’re hearing some other good things with some vacant buildings that I think you’ll hear about in the coming months.”
Sather added, “It’s about people moving goods and services throughout this great Commonwealth and throughout this nation. I think the best is yet to come.”
The “big picture” of a project such as Smith Transport’s expansion was spoken about by Jubelirer. “Smith Transport is the sort of bedrock business on which a strong local economy is built,” said Jubelirer. “It is evidence of the terrific working relationship that the local economic development team has with state and federal officials. If it seems as though every event is a tribute to teamwork, it is so, because we have terrific teamwork and it pays off.”
Jubelirer noted, “We can never overlook the expertise and the consistent effort of Marty Marasco and his ABCD team. Nor should we overlook the collaboration of area financial institutions in these projects.”
Congressman Bill Shuster took time out of his busy schedule to speak at the groundbreaking and talk about this good news from Barry Smith and Smith Transport for growing along the I-99 corridor and the support the government gives for the transportation system.
“Once again the good news that we hear today, we hear time and time again, 75 jobs here, 60 down in Claysburg, and it’s happening all over,” said Shuster. “We need to stay focused on the positive.”
Shuster added, “One thing the government does very well is it supports the transportation network to allow with the states’ coming together and building the asset out there that we have in I-99, and it’s an asset that’s going to keep on giving to us.”
The Smith Transport property is located in the Northern I-99 Enterprise Zone. This site is also designated by the Commonwealth as a Keystone Opportunity Zone which enables the company to obtain various state and local tax abatement through 2008.
Barry Smith, President of Smith Transport Company, stated, “Based on our success with the first warehouse, the property adjoining the existing warehouse was the perfect site for the expansion. The property already has rail access and the economic incentives of the enterprise zone and KOZ made good business sense.”