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Ohio rail commission OKs action plan, project funds

The Ohio Rail Development Commission (ORDC) had a busy board meeting last week, approving a 2008 rail action plan and authorizing funds for two rail projects.

The action plan calls for seeking funds for freight- and passenger-rail infrastructure and safety; accelerating efforts to develop intercity passenger rail by exploring opportunities for Amtrak start-up services and continuing to pursue corridor-based passenger trains under the Ohio Hub Plan; developing a state rail strategy in cooperation with the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) and other agencies to identify choke points and other capacity constraints; and continuing the state's commitment to improve rail safety.

ORDC approved a $200,000 matching grant for Case Farms to build a 2,500-foot rail spur to serve a feed mill near Massillon. Case Farms, the Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway Co. and other sources will provide $100,000 in matching funds.

The commission also authorized a $300,000 loan to MGQ Inc. to help fund the construction of 4,200 feet of track to accommodate unit trains of aggregates at a quarry near Maple Grove. The project will improve operations for MGQ and the Norfolk Southern Railway, eliminate the need to store empty hopper cars several miles away from the quarry and increase carloads from 750 to 4,000, ORDC said.

An independent ODOT agency, ORDC is responsible for issues surrounding freight- and passenger-rail service, grade crossing safety, and rail travel and tourism.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 1/21/2008