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Governor Walker announces nearly $11 million in freight rail awards

September 13, 2013

Governor Scott Walker today approved four freight rail improvement projects totaling $10,967,417 in grants and loans. The goal of Wisconsin’s freight railroad assistance program is to increase the use of rail transportation and support economic development and job creation.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) is distributing $9,837,704 in grants through the Freight Railroad Preservation Program (FRPP). FRPP grants cover up to 80 percent of projects designed to preserve freight rail service or rehabilitate track on publicly-owned rail lines. In addition, WisDOT is awarding $1,129,713 in loans through the state’s Freight Railroad Infrastructure Improvement Program (FRIIP). FRIIP is a revolving loan program used to improve rail infrastructure and construct new rail-served facilities.

Recipients of 2013-2014 FRPP grants and FRIIP loans are:

  • City of Baraboo
    $800,000 FRPP grant to cover a $1 million railroad spur line reconstruction project in Madalon Industrial Park. Constructed in 1982, the line has deteriorated despite ongoing maintenance efforts. The project will improve reliability to the three industries currently being served, and potentially attract new rail users. The spur line is served by Wisconsin and Southern Railroad, which operates on the adjoining line through a lease agreement with Union Pacific Railroad.
  • Wisconsin and Southern Railroad (WSOR): Three project awards
    • $2,293,380 FRPP grant to reactivate a 10-mile railroad corridor between McCoy Road in Fitchburg and West Netherwood Road in Oregon. The Dane County rail line, which has not operated since the 1990s, is currently owned by the city of Fitchburg and the village of Oregon. Access to rail service is essential for Lycon Incorporated’s new ready-mix concrete facility being built in Oregon. A $286,673 FRIIP loan has also been awarded to WSOR for this project.
    • $1,744,324 FRPP grant to construct a new 8,000 foot rail siding from Milton Junction to Anderson in Rock County. This project is located on a rail line owned by the state of Wisconsin and the Wisconsin River Rail Transit Commission. It will improve operations at both the rail yards in Madison and Janesville, along with safety issues near the city of Milton. A $218,040 FRIIP loan will assist in covering the project costs.
    • $5,000,000 FRPP grant for the first phase of a more than $11 million project. Improvements involve rehabilitation of the state of Wisconsin and Wisconsin River Rail Commission-owned track through Janesville, including track alignment and other rail upgrades near the former General Motors plant. Another section of rail will also be upgraded between Walworth and Zenda in Walworth County. The rehabilitated track will allow WSOR to improve the efficiency in transporting rail cars along its connection to the Chicago market. A FRIIP loan of $625,000 has also been awarded for this project.

Additional freight railroad assistance program grants and loans may be awarded this year. Since 1993, WisDOT has provided more than $165 million in FRPP grants and more than $119 million in FRIIP loans.

Twelve freight railroads operate in Wisconsin on a system of more than 3,500 miles of track and move an estimated 190 million tons of commodities every year.

For more information, contact:
Frank Huntington, WisDOT Bureau of Transit, Local Roads, Rails and Harbors
(608) 267-3710, frank.huntington@dot.wi.gov

 

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