Thursday, October 05, 2017

MassDOT awards freight grants to 8 rail projects

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The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) has awarded more than $3 million in industrial freight grants to eight projects.


The awards are page of the 2017 Industrial Rail Access Program (IRAP), which supports projects that expand or improve rail or freight access, economic opportunity and job growth and require a private sector match of at least 40 percent.

"This unique program supports economic development and job growth across the commonwealth by expanding and improving access to the rail infrastructure so important to the success of our employers," said Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker. "Freight rail shipping is a priority for the competitiveness of companies large and small, connecting their sites and products to the marketplace so they can thrive, grow and create additional job opportunities for our residents."

Created as part of the 2012 Transportation Bond Bill, IRAP provides grants to railroads, rail shippers and municipalities that identify a public benefit gained through improved rail transportation usage or economic growth that would be realized through improved access to rail assets.

"The IRAP grants provide unique opportunities for public and private partners to identify and fund key industrial rail projects that seek to build rail infrastructure, provide access for transportation and freight service delivery, and further support economic development in the Commonwealth," said MassDOT Rail and Transit Administrator Astrid Glynn.

The projects to be awarded funds are:

  • Pan Am Southern Ayer Freight Hub Congestion Relief – Ayer: $500,000
    • This project will increase the capacity of the yard leading to additional rail volumes, and will improve service to the customers across the Pan Am system that are served by the 89,000 railcars that move through the yard each year. The project will also increase reliability and volume of rail shipments.
  • Pan Am/CIP Saratoga Boulevard LLC Rail Connection to Warehouse – Devens: $431,760
    • This project will create a rail connection for a new 262,000 square foot paper-handling warehouse operation, as well as an adjoining warehouse space at Devens. The project is expected to increase rail shipments and facilitate the creation of new jobs and additional rail cars annually. 50 warehouse jobs will be created.
  • Mid-States Packaging Distribution Center Track Rehab –Auburn: $105,600
    • This project will result in the expansion of rail service to an existing rail customer leading to increased rail traffic, reduced truck traffic and additional rail-based jobs. The project will provide an increased volume of railcars.
  • Tri-County Recycling Track Expansion – Ware: $123,720
    • This project will expand the capacity of a recycling center, leading to increased rail traffic, reduced truck traffic, doubled frequency and increased volume of rail cars and additional rail-based jobs.
  • Pioneer Valley Railroad Knowledge Corridor Service Interchange – Holyoke: $495,000
    • This project will result in increased rail traffic and reduce associated truck traffic by improving the connectivity between two rail systems (Pan Am Railways and Pioneer Valley Railroad), therefore offering more efficient and improved service to their rail shippers. The project will also provide safety improvements and an increased volume of railcars.
  • Pan Am/Springfield Terminal Railways Turnout Tracks – Lowell: $405,870
    • This project will rehabilitate two turnout tracks on the freight main line in Lowell, thereby decreasing train congestion, improving capacity for freight and passenger operations, and decreasing idling on the main line near residential neighborhoods.
  • Pan Am Railways Yard Tracks 2-4 – Lawrence: $494,610
    • This project will provide environmental benefits due to deceased idling and reduce community impacts from rail operations. The project will also provide increased reliability of freight rail shipments and improve the Yard's state of good repair.
  • United Materials Management (UMM) Recycling Center Rail Facility – Holyoke: $500,000
    • The project will extend the existing rail spur into a new expanded state-of- the art recycling facility that will handle non-recyclable construction debris and recyclable municipal solid waste. UMM's expanded facility will ship 650 railcars annually to end markets eliminating 2,000 truck trips and will facilitate 6-10 new hires.

MassDOT says IRAP, now in its fifth year, leverages private investment to ensure that industries have the infrastructure needed to transport freight and materials, and also assist in refurbishing tracks.