SALAMANCA - Rail industry development and protection holds a key to the development of the Southern Tier, from Chautauqua County to Steuben County. The office of chairman in the regional board that holds the job will continue to be occupied by Chautauqua IDA and County Planning Board head, Bill Daly.
Daly, holding the top positions in his home county, has been lauded by representatives of other counties on the Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Allegany and Steuben Counties Southern Tier Extension Railroad Authority.
"Bill Daly has been such an outstanding member of the board, showing great insight into the importance of good Class 3 freight rail service to the Southern Tier," said Jim Griffin, board member from Steuben County. "This was a great choice by the board - we are in very good hands."
Class 3 railroads, or short line, railroads, are lines with general operating revenue of less than $20 million and service a small number of towns and industries. Class 3 lines are usually parts of larger lines that have been spun off for more of a local service in the freight industry. There are 13 such rail lines in New York state. STERA deals with the Western New York Pennsylvania rail line.
Carl P. Belke, president and chief operating officer of the WNYP, stated his faith in the ability of Daly to continue as chairman.
"It is so important we have a leader in economic development like Bill Daly as chairman of STERA," he said. (Daly) is recognized, not only in the region, but statewide for his expertise. This gives us great confidence as we move forward to constantly upgrade the rail line and our railroad to provide quality service to businesses in the region."
Daly, who has served on the board for six years, appointed after the resignation of Allegany County representative and chairman, John Margeson, said the leadership role is not just his but shared among all the players along the rail line.
"It is an honor to be elected chairman of STERA." he said. "We need to continuously seek ways to improve rail service from Meadville to Hornell. We have a great partnership amongst the Western New York & Pennsylvania Railroad, LLC, the staff at Southern Tier West who act as corporate officers, and the STERA Board."
Headquartered in the Regional Center for Excellence, in Salamanca, STERA is governed by Richard Zink, chief executive; John Foels, treasurer; and Tom Barnes, secretary. WNYP, operating out of the Olean Rail Yard, on Constitution Avenue, along the St. Bonaventure Golf Course, and STERA operate Norfolk Southern Railway's Southern Tier Line, from Meadville to Hornell, branching to Oil City, Pa., as well. In 2007, WNYP has also operated Norfolk Southern's line from Driftwood, Pa., to Machias.