Questions arise two years after the departure of railcar builder from Roanoke | Local company
The announcement was made in September 2020. At the time, FreightCar cited the pandemic and industry downturn as the reasons for sending all of its jobs south of the Mexican border.
Johnson questioned whether FreightCar, a “big multinational corporation”, should even have qualified for the loan.
Nationally, the SBA has made nearly $ 12 million in paycheck protection program loans through May 31, according to its website. The total amount was just under $ 800 billion and the average loan amount was $ 42,000.
About 1% of the loans were over $ 5 million. The $ 10 million Freightcar received was the maximum allowed under the program.
FreightCar arrived in Roanoke in 2005, occupying part of a sprawling complex that was previously used by Norfolk Southern Corp. to make wagons. Before that, the Norfolk & Western Railway built steam locomotives there.
Last year, Norfolk Southern moved its last jobs to the site to Pennsylvania.
The old factory – perhaps best known to the Roanokers for the piercing steam whistle that marked the start and end of shifts – is “arguably the main reason Roanoke became the town it is today. hui, ”Johnson said.
Norfolk Southern still owns the property, which totals approximately 900,000 square feet in a number of large buildings and small structures. John Hull, executive director of the Roanoke Regional Partnership, said efforts were underway to find a new tenant.