Three MnDOT projects gain funding to improve state’s rail service

Written by Kyra Senese, Managing Editor
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NS & CSX trains collide in Augusta, Ga.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) has announced three projects aimed at improving rail service in the state.

According to a statement, $1.55 million in funding has been made available through the department’s Minnesota Rail Service Improvement (MRSI) program. The funds are expected to help strengthen the state’s shipping economy and help companies that ship by rail to bolster their operations.

“The program is designed to rehabilitate deteriorating rail lines, improve rail-shipping opportunities and preserve and maintain abandoned rail corridors for future transportation uses,” said Peter Dahlberg of MnDOT’s Office of Freight and Commercial Vehicle Operations. “These three projects will positively impact local economies and the overall rail system across the state.”

MnDOT states that the city of Becker, Minn., received a $1 million award for Northern Metal Recycling to add a 7,000-foot rail spur to a new processing facility.

Additionally, Epitome Energy, LLC, Crookston, received $450,000 in grant funds for new rail infrastructure for a new soybean processing and biodiesel facility. Minnesota Commercial Railway is also expected to use its $101,139 award to replace a railroad bridge over Rice Creek in New Brighton, Minn.

The department said it received nine applications totaling at more than $4.5 million for rail service improvement projects. Grant recipients were selected based on the impact of state dollars on rail service and economic development, a statement said.

The MRSI Grant program provides grants for freight rail service improvement projects that support economic development, according to MnDOT’s website. Grant applicants may include railroads, rail users and political subdivisions of the state and federal government that aim to complete major improvement or rehabilitation work on railroad rights-of-way or other railroad facilities, MnDOT states.

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