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The Ohio Rail Development Commission will receive $16.25 million in grant dollars for the Ohio River rail improvement project in Jefferson and Belmont counties, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) announced yesterday.The grant will be used toward improving 30 miles of rail along the Ohio River in the two counties. The project also includes capacity improvements at two rail yards along the line, according to the USDOT's grant announcement.The project qualified for the grant under the USDOT's Nationally Significant Freight and Highway Projects program, also known as the INFRA program. The Ohio grant was among $1.5 billion in INFRA grants announced yesterday."The project addresses the economic vitality criterion through improving track condition, increasing rail capacity and enhancing operations within the project corridor to generate economic, mobility and safety benefits," the USDOT grant announcement stated.In addition, the project addressed the USDOT's criteria for projects to maximize non-federal funding. The Ohio project proposal includes a 40 percent private sector match from Norfolk Southern Railway, which also has agreed to maintain the project after construction, according to the department."This project will participate in the new approach to environmental review and permitting because the project sponsor is committed to timely delivery but the project faces several outstanding permitting milestones," the USDOT announcement stated.
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