RIVERSIDE - Commemorating the start of a rail expansion project, Bryan Cotner, president of Boyd Station LLC, broke ground for the upgrade at the soybean processing plant around 1 p.m. Wednesday.

Joining him was Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Secretary Allen Biehler, Sen. John Gordner (R-27) and Russ Cotner and Shannon Cotner, partners in the family owned business.

Through the State Transportation Commission funding of $793,000, Boyd Station will be able to increase its bulk commodity shipping and receiving capacity as well as create more green jobs.

Boyd Station, one of the top three soybean processing facilities on the East Coast, will create five additional jobs. The firm currently employs 20 people.

The project will involve the construction of more rail spurs that connect to the rail line that passes directly beside the property, which is adjacent to Route 54.

In facility operations, soybeans that arrive are divided into two parts, with the "meat" taken back to farms to be used as feed and the liquid taken to Pennsylvania biodiesel processing facilities.

The new rails will cut down on trucks entering and leaving the facility, with a projected 4,000 removed annually from local road and cutting down on how far the remaining trucks are traveling.

While the completed project will total more than $1 million, Gordner said it will have long-term benefits beyond that.

"This project has green written all over it from a couple different angles," he said. "First by getting the trucks off the roads and second by taking a product and changing it to biodiesel, a green energy source. It's a win-win situation."

Funds for the project come from the state's Capital Budget Transportation Assistance Program, consisting of state capital bond dollars.

"The commonwealth has significantly increased the amount of money given to businesses in the past couple years," Biehler said. "This is a real public-private partnership and it couldn't be a smarter investment to create a stronger economy."

Boyd Station LLC received a 2007 Pennsylvania Energy Development grant to upgrade its biodiesel component processing system, which necessitated an increased rail capacity.

"Our family and employees want to thank Sen. Gordner for this continued support for Boyd Station and his advocacy for jobs in our area," Bryan Cotner said. "We are honored to have Secretary Biehler join us today for this important event."

Cotner said he expects the project to be completed in February.

Boyd Station LLC was founded in 2002 and distributes bulk agricultural commodities and biodiesel fuel components throughout the state.