Wednesday, December 19, 2012

WisDOT awards funds to revive freight service

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) is contributing more than $17 million toward a rail restoration project in Sheboygan County.

It includes re-establishing freight rail service along a nearly 11-mile stretch of track between Plymouth and Kohler.

"This project represents the department's multi-modal approach to addressing transportation needs in Wisconsin," said department Secretary Mark Gottlieb. "The revival of this rail corridor will give local businesses an additional freight transportation option, while retaining and creating new jobs in Sheboygan County. We are pleased to partner with several businesses, local governments and organizations to move this project forward," Gottlieb added.

WisDOT's $17,135,472 in funding includes a $15,298,197 Freight Rail Preservation Program (FRPP) grant, a $1,000,000 Transportation Economic Assistance (TEA) grant and s $837,275 Freight Rail Infrastructure Improvement Program (FRIPP) loan.

The FRPP grant and FRIPP loan are being awarded to Wisconsin and Southern Railroad (WSOR), the railroad that will operate the corridor. The TEA grant goes to Sheboygan County to improve access to businesses along the line. Bemis Manufacturing recently completed an expansion project that will retain 1,000 jobs at its Sheboygan Falls location.

Total project costs are estimated at $19.1 million, with the remaining funds coming from WSOR; cities of Plymouth and Sheboygan Falls; Sheboygan County and four local companies, Bemis, Kettle Lakes Co-op, King Structures and Morrelle Transfer and Warehouse. The track is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2014.

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