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North Dakota, Maine and Texas DOTs land TIGER II grants for rail projects


Several legislators recently announced the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) has awarded TIGER II grants through the second round of the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program to their respective states.

Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D-N.D.) and Sens. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) and Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) announced the USDOT awarded a $14.1 million TIGER II grant to help fund the Minot Bypass project, also known as the North Central Regional Economic Growth Intermodal Port Connector project. The project calls for building a bypass around the city of Minot and a railroad grade separation to improve traffic flow into and out of the city’s ag park, as well as the Great Plains Energy Park, Port of North Dakota Intermodal rail facility and BNSF Railway Co.’s rail complex.

The TIGER II grant will be used to reconstruct an intersection at the US 2/55th Street NE junction in Minot, build a grade separation over BNSF’s mainline and service tracks, and upgrade existing county and township roads to serve as a segment of the bypass.

Meanwhile, Sens. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), and Rep. Mike Michaud (D-Maine) announced the USDOT has awarded a $10.5 million grant to the Maine Department of Transportation to repair and improve a Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway Ltd. (MMA) line in northern Maine.

The TIGER II grant will help fund the Aroostook Railroad Preservation and Rehabilitation Project, which calls for replacing rail sections and ties, and clearing drainage ditches to restore the line in Aroostook and Penobscot counties. The state is negotiating with MMA to acquire 233 miles of track the railroad seeks to abandon.

In June, Maine voters approved a $7 million bond package to purchase the line, but some track sections are in poor condition and “require significant repair,” according to state officials.

“An effective rail transportation system in northern Maine is crucial for the companies and communities along the 241 miles of the rail corridor, and the overall economic vitality and health of the entire state,” said Snowe in a prepared statement. “Clearly, all of us remain committed — full-throttle — to ensuring there is freight-rail service in the region.”

In addition, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) announced that Fort Worth, Texas’s Tower 55 rail project has been awarded a $34 million TIGER II grant from the USDOT.

The Texas DOT is undertaking the project in partnership with BNSF, Union Pacific Railroad, Amtrak, the city of Forth Worth, North Central Texas Council of Governments and the Fort Worth Transit Authority. The project calls for installing new track and sidings, and constructing pedestrian crossings and overpass bridges to ease rail congestion at the tower and improve safety.

“The Tower 55 rail project has been one of my highest priorities in the Senate because of the tremendous safety and traffic challenges facing Fort Worth’s vital rail intersection,” said Hutchison in a prepared statement.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 10/19/2010