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The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) has awarded seven grants totaling $2.5 million for freight-rail infrastructure projects as part of the 2014 Industrial Rail Access Program (IRAP). The state funding will be matched by more than $1.9 million in private-sector investments for the projects. Created as part of a 2012 transportation bond bill, IRAP provides grants to railroads, rail shippers and municipalities for projects that improve the use of the state's rail transportation network or enhance economic growth through rail access.Gov. Deval Patrick's administration has made better access to freight-rail service a priority, said MassDOT Secretary and Chief Executive Officer Richard Davey in a press release."The carefully selected projects are designed to work with regional and local transportation plans for the benefit of each community and area," Davey said. The seven recipients, grant amounts and projects are: • Omnova Solutions, $500,000 for the second phase of an industrial park rail siding rehabilitation on Pan Am Southern Railway's network;• New England Central Railroad, $499,800 for an industrial park freight capacity expansion project;• North East Refrigerated Terminals, $474,618 for a Mass Coastal Railroad siding rehabilitation and rail-to-trailer cross docking facility;• PCA Systems/Holland Chemical, $351,300 for a rail siding, unloading system and storage shelter with grade crossing on Pan Am Southern's network;• Pioneer Valley Railroad, $310,032 for the Easthampton mainline yard capacity project;• Horizon Milling, $240,000 to upgrade an existing loop track serving the Nemco Way Industrial Park, Cargill/Horizon Milling and Catania Spagna in Ayer off a Pan Am Southern mainline; and• Lenox Valley Waste Transfer Facility, $189,000 for a rail siding extension and rail-car loading/staging transfer station improvements on the Housatonic Railroad.
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