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North Carolina Railroad Co. (NCRR) paid a $15.5 million dividend to the state of North Carolina on Dec. 20 for a new freight-rail and rail safety fund that supports the state's economic development efforts.During its 2013 session, the North Carolina General Assembly enacted a measure requiring NCRR to issue dividends for the new statewide fund. The railroad — which manages a 317-mile rail corridor between Morehead City and Charlotte — receives its revenue from long-term lease agreements and does not obtain state appropriations.NCRR invests its revenue in capital improvements, including bridges, underpasses, tracks, sidings and signaling systems. The railroad has invested more than $69 million in capital improvements since 2000, and committed an additional $60 million through 2017."We look forward to continuing to work with the state Department of Transportation and Department of Commerce on future investments in freight rail, and improving the economy in this new, statewide program," said NCRR President Scott Saylor in a press release.