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U.S. lawmakers from Kansas and Mississippi late last week announced federal Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements Program (CRISI) grants that have been awarded to railroads in their states.U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) announced a $27 million grant that would help fund upgrades to the South Kansas and Oklahoma Railroad, used by rural shippers across the state to transport crops, minerals, chemicals, steel and other products."This grant will allow the South Kansas and Oklahoma Railroad to modernize their railways, increasing the speed of transportation and permitting heavier shipments to be moved across the region," said Moran in a press release.The railroad will use the funds to replace existing rail with heavier rail.Meanwhile, in Mississippi, a $5.4 million CRISI grant has been awarded to the city of Hattiesburg to construct a new route along Hall Avenue that will include a bridge over the CN north-south rail line. The grant was announced in a press release issued by U.S. Sens. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) and U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo (R-Miss.).In addition, the project calls for a new rail connection to a Norfolk Southern Railway yard to eliminate three-point turns that block vehicular traffic for up to 45 minutes at a time, the lawmakers said."This project will provide a much-needed overpass along Hall Avenue for motorists and a streamlined connection for trains that travel through the city each day," Wicker said. "These upgrades will improve safety and reduce frustrations as the city works to make Hattiesburg a better place to live and work.”As part of the Federal Railroad Administration, the CRISI program provides federal funding for capital projects that will improve the safety, efficiency and reliability of freight- and passenger-rail service.