The Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) is soliciting comments on its Draft State Rail Plan Update. Also, Gov. Tony Evers, along with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT), announces nearly $8 million in grants and loans for Wisconsin’s Freight Railroad Assistance Program (FRPP).
CTDOT will present an overview of its Draft State Rail Plan Update at a public hearing with the joint Transportation Committee and Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee of the Connecticut General Assembly to be held in-person and virtually on Friday, Sept. 30 at 2:30 p.m. The public comment period ends Oct. 31.
According to CTDOT, the 2022-2026 Connecticut State Rail Plan is being developed in compliance with the federal Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008, Public Law 110-432, and will be submitted to the U.S. Secretary of Transportation for review upon completion.
The State Rail Plan contains Connecticut’s “mission, vision, and values for rail transportation’s role in an intermodal network,” CTDOT says. It provides an overview and inventory of the passenger and freight rail system and facilities in Connecticut, the services provided, and asset conditions and constraints. It also “aims to support Connecticut’s role in developing an expanded, interconnected rail system with adjoining states and to advance high-speed, intercity, and freight investments in the region,” according to the agency.
The State Rail Plan, CTDOT says, updates strategies and programs focused on “ensuring that the existing passenger and freight rail infrastructure is maintained in a state of good repair,” and includes short- and long-term investments “aimed at maximizing the potential of current and future rail services.” The State Rail Plan outlines programmed, and proposed projects, including costs and associated public benefits.
The public hearing will be held in-person at the Legislative Office Building, 300 Capitol Avenue, Hartford, Conn., 06106, in Room 1E. To attend virtually and give feedback during the public hearing, please register on Zoom. The meeting will also be live streamed on YouTube and CT-N.
DOWNLOAD THE DRAFT STATE RAIL PLAN UPDATE BELOW:
Gov. Tony Evers, together with WisDOT, on Sept. 26 announced nearly $8 million in grants and loans for five freight rail improvement projects across the state. The projects, the agency says, “will lengthen rail spurs, install conveyance equipment, and increase storage capacity at Wisconsin facilities.”
“Wisconsin’s economy relies on a robust network of roads, ports and railways, and investing in our state’s transportation infrastructure, including our freight rail network, is a positive investment for the future of industry, our economy, and our entire state,” said Gov. Evers. “This round of grants will bolster how the state’s agriculture and paper industries move products from point A to B, supporting industry growth and success across the state.”
Freight Railroad Preservation Program (FRPP) grants contribute up to 80% of project costs to help preserve freight rail service or rehabilitate track on publicly owned rail lines, according to WisDOT. The state’s Freight Railroad Infrastructure Improvement Program (FRIIP) is a “revolving loan program used to improve rail infrastructure and construct new rail-served facilities.”
“The movement of products and commodities is the lifeblood of our economy, affecting nearly every aspect of our lives,” said WisDOT Secretary Craig Thompson. “Strategic investments that improve connectivity and efficiency of freight rail have a big impact on urban and rural communities all across the state.”
Recipients of the FRPP grant and FRIIP loan include:
- Wisconsin and Southern Railroad Company (WSOR) near Boscobel, Grant County: $1.4 million FRPP grant and $179,725 FRIIP loan to replace old timber trestle structure near Boscobel on the Prairie Subdivision. The new steel and concrete structure will allow trail accommodations underneath for local pedestrian and bicycle connectivity. The funding will also help lengthen a rail spur.
- Rio Creek Feed Mill in Luxemburg, Kewaunee County: $1.5 million FRIIP loan to improve efficiency of the Luxemburg facility for rail car loading and unloading by investing in above-track storage capacity improvements and conveyance equipment. The facility receives inbound carloads of canola meal, soybean meal, corn gluten, and dried distiller grains. The facility is served by the Fox Valley & Lake Superior Railroad.
- Northside Elevator in Stanley, Chippewa County: $3 million FRIIP loan to construct 6,878 feet of track for a new rail-served agronomy and feed terminal in Stanley on Canadian National Railway’s Minneapolis Subdivision. This project will be the first phase of a multi-phase, multi-year buildout of the site. If construction is completed in 2022, 650 carloads of potash, gypsum, canola meal, soda, corn gluten, and other feed and agronomy commodities are forecast to be inbound per year to the facility by 2025. This is the company’s first time applying for FRIIP funding.
- McDonald Companies in Green Bay, Brown County: $492,791 FRIIP loan to reconstruct 521 feet of spur track that would serve a warehouse in Green Bay. Reinstallation will allow McDonald Companies’ tenant Quincy Recycled Paper to transport recycled fiber by rail to Green Bay Packaging’s new paper mill and other Wisconsin mills.
- DeLong Company in Port of Milwaukee, Milwaukee County: $1.5 million FRIIP loan for installation of conveyance equipment at its new rail-served grain terminal at the Port Milwaukee. Dried distiller grains are expected to be transported by rail from Iowa and Minnesota, resulting in substantial transportation cost savings.