MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A nearly $232 million project funded mostly by Norfolk Southern Corp. will upgrade rail transportation between the Port of Mobile and central Alabama, the governor's office said Tuesday.

Gov. Kay Ivey's office said the A-USA Corridor, which is meant to assist with economic development, will improve access to the Gulf of Mexico port and provide new options for freight containers bound for inland destinations.

The Georgia-based railroad will provide most of the funding, with the state investing $5 million and the rest coming from current and future federal transportation funds.

The initial phase of the project, which includes a dozen separate improvements between Mobile, Selma and Birmingham, involves a nearly $72 million, 280-mile (451-kilometer) link between Mobile and a large intermodal transportation facility near Birmingham in McCalla. The line will tie in with development sites in Etowah, Mobile, Shelby and Washington counties, an announcement said.

Alan Shaw, the president of Norfolk Southern, called the project "an innovative public-private partnership that will strengthen the nation’s supply chain at a critical time and boost the regional economy.”

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