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Rail News: Maintenance Of Way

TIGER VI grants eyed for rail projects in four states


With the deadline for Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) VI grant applications approaching on April 28, several railroads and state or local government bodies are lining up to apply for their respective rail projects. The TIGER program has been allocated $600 million by the federal government for the sixth round of grant funding, which is governed by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

BNSF Railway Co., the Minnesota Department of Transportation and several other partners plan to apply for a TIGER VI grant to build a wye track near Willmar, Minn. Other applicants would include the city of Willmar and Kandiyohi County.

Estimated to cost more than $50 million, the project calls for constructing 2.5 miles of wye track between BNSF’s Morris Subdivision and Marshall Subdivision to relocate some trains outside the city and reduce blockages at 12 grade crossings. About seven to 10 of the estimated 30 trains entering Willmar each day would bypass BNSF's local switching yard.

In Indiana, the city of Munster plans to apply for a $30 million TIGER VI grant for the first phase of a grade separation project.

The first phase involves construction of the east-west portion of an underpass from Calumet Avenue to Southwood Drive. The entire grade separation will create a two-bridge overpass for CN trains and an underpass for motorist traffic.

In the Pacific Northwest, the Oregon International Port of Coos Bay plans to apply for a $10 million TIGER VI grant to help refurbish five bridges on its 134-mile rail line between Eugene and Coquille, which is operated by Coos Bay Rail Link.

The port purchased the line in 2009 and since has spent about $31 million in state and federal grants to repair and upgrade the route. The port previously obtained a $13.5 million TIGER grant in 2010 for line repairs, and unsuccessfully applied for additional TIGER grants in 2011 and 2013.

Meanwhile, the Muskogee City-County Port Authority plans to apply for a TIGER VI grant to help fund a rail improvement and expansion project at the Port of Muskogee, Okla.

Projected to cost more than $5 million, the project would enable the track curvature to meet current safety standards, increasing the port’s ability to serve existing industries and accommodate future growth, according to the authority. The current track's weight capacity is limited to four-axle locomotives.

The Port of Muskogee Railroad provides daily switching services at the port, which is served by BNSF and Union Pacific Railroad.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 4/22/2014