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RAIL EMPLOYMENT



Rail News Home Short Lines & Regionals

9/26/2011



Rail News: Short Lines & Regionals

Wisconsin DOT to provide grants, loans for six rail projects


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Last week, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker announced the state will issue awards totaling $17.4 million for several freight-rail facilities and rail infrastructure projects.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) will administer six loans totaling $4.6 million through the Freight Railroad Infrastructure Improvement Program (FRIIP), a revolving loan program that provides funds to railroads, private industries and local governments to improve rail infrastructure and grade crossings, or construct rail-served facilities. WisDOT also will provide four grants totaling $12.8 million through the Freight Railroad Preservation Program (FRPP), which covers up to 80 percent of the costs to preserve rail service or rehabilitate facilities on publicly owned rail lines.

The Wisconsin & Southern Railroad Co. (WSOR) will receive a $1.1 million FRPP grant to cover 80 percent of the cost to complete a comprehensive bridge rating and evaluation study of bridges owned by WisDOT and various transit-rail commissions. The regional also will receive a $132,000 FRIIP loan for the study, which is required by the Federal Railroad Administration.

In addition, WSOR will receive a total of $4 million in FRPP grant funds to cover 80 percent of the costs for emergency rehabilitation and reconstruction work on system bridges, and a FRIIP loan of $500,000 to cover another 10 percent of those costs. The railroad has identified more than $33 million worth of bridge work that needs to be completed over the next several years.

WSOR also will receive $6.9 million in FRPP grant funds to cover 80 percent of the costs for the first phase of rehabilitation work on the Saukville-to-Elkhart Lake line, and a $867,181 FRIIP loan to cover another 10 percent of the project's cost. The work calls for renewing 15 grade crossings, reconstructing 16 turnouts, adding 53,000 tons ballast and replacing 50,000 ties. The second phase, which will likely include the replacement of worn rail with new 115-pound welded rail, will occur at a later date, according to WisDOT.

Meanwhile, the Escanaba & Lake Superior Railroad will receive an $845,940 FRPP grant to cover 80 percent of the costs to rehabilitate 1.1 miles of track in Marinette, and a $105,743 FRIIP loan to cover another 10 percent of costs. The railroad plans to perform work on ties, ballast, surfacing, turnouts and crossing elements of a spur track.

WisDOT also will provide a $1.5 million FRIIP loan to Zenda Grain L.L.C. to construct two additional grain storage bins for corn and soybeans at a facility located on a WSOR-served line; and a $1.5 million FRIIP loan to United Cooperative to construct a grain elevator, including grain storage and rail loading facilities, near Sauk City.


Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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