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Rail News: Maintenance Of Way
Wisconsin DOT allocates funds for freight-rail restoration project

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) yesterday announced it will provide more than $17 million for a rail restoration project that calls for re-establishing freight-rail service along an 11-mile stretch of track between Plymouth and Kohler.

WisDOT will allocate $15.3 million via a Freight Rail Preservation Program grant, $1 million via a Transportation Economic Assistance Program grant and $837,275 via a Freight Rail Infrastructure Improvement Program loan.

The freight-rail grant and loan are being awarded to Wisconsin & Southern Railroad Co. (WSOR), which will operate the corridor. The economic assistance grant will be awarded to Sheboygan County to improve access to businesses along the rail line.

Total project costs are estimated at $19.1 million. The remainder will be covered by WSOR, the cities of Plymouth and Sheboygan Falls, Sheboygan County and four local companies. The trackwork is scheduled for completion by 2014's end.

Shippers in the Sheboygan Falls area have not had access to rail service since 2006, when Union Pacific Railroad discontinued service between Kohler and Sheboygan Falls. The Plymouth-to-Sheboygan Falls corridor has been out of service for more than 20 years and was purchased by WisDOT in 2009.

"This project represents the department's multi-modal approach to addressing transportation needs in Wisconsin," said WisDOT Secretary Mark Gottlieb in a prepared statement. "The revival of this rail corridor will give local businesses an additional freight transportation option, while retaining and creating new jobs in Sheboygan County."

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