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Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker on Friday announced the state will provide $7.6 million for four freight-rail infrastructure improvement projects.The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) is administering the funds through the Freight Railroad Infrastructure Improvement Program. The revolving loan program provides funds to railroads, private industries and local governments to improve rail infrastructure, bolster grade crossings and construct new rail-served facilities.WisDOT is providing the following 2014 loans:• $2.75 million to Wisconsin Rapids Grain-Nidera L.L.C. to construct a 7,200-foot rail spur, including six switches, at its east Blair grain facility that's served by CN. The loan will cover the entire cost of the project, which will help the company open up new markets to ship grain nationally and potentially make the facility a transload terminal for materials such as frac sand.• $2.5 million to Didion Milling Inc. to build a mainline bypass track, rail scale switch and bulk loadout facility, and complete corn unload system upgrades at its Cambria facility that's located on a Wisconsin & Southern Railroad L.L.C. (WSOR) line. The $2.94 million project is designed to boost the capacity of the milling division, which has outgrown its rail infrastructure.• $1.5 million to Farm City Elevator Inc. to build a 765,000-bushel-capacity grain storage bin at its Darien facility that's located on a WSOR line. The additional storage bin is expected to help the company increase the market for wheat, corn and soybeans.• $820,000 to Grain Ventures L.L.C. to build a 600,000-bushel-capacity grain storage bin in Oconto Falls that's served by the Escanaba and Lake Superior Railroad.Since 1993, WisDOT has provided more than $117 million in loans. Twelve freight railroads operate in Wisconsin on a system exceeding 3,500 miles of track.
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