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Rail News: Maintenance Of Way

FRA doles out $4.6 million RRIF loan to Oklahoma short line


Although only a handful of Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing (RRIF) loans have been approved by the Federal Railroad Administration the past three-plus years, the administration expects to bless more loans in 2004. Case in point: a $4.6 million RRIF loan FRA approved for Stillwater Central Railroad Inc. yesterday.

The 120-mile Oklahoma short line plans to use the 25-year loan to buy a locomotive and refinance debt incurred from purchasing a 119.7-mile Wheatland-to-Long, Okla., line from Burlington Northern Santa Fe last year.

Launched in July 2000, RRIF authorizes FRA to provide $3.5 billion in direct loans or loan guarantees to eligible railroads (including $1 billion set aside for regionals and short lines), state and local governments, and government-sponsored authorities to acquire, develop, improve or rehabilitate existing or new intermodal or rail facilities.

"The RRIF program enables smaller railroads to make investments that improve their financial and operational performance," said Federal Railroad Administrator Allan Rutter in a prepared statement.

Owned and operated by The Watco Cos. Inc., Stillwater Central serves 20 shippers and moves about 17,000 carloads annually.

Last month, FRA approved a $233.6 million RRIF loan for Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern Railroad Corp. and its subsidiary Iowa, Chicago & Eastern Railroad Corp. — the program's largest-ever loan.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 2/13/2004