Friday, September 25, 2009

Wisconsin authorizes $30 million for rail projects

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The State of Wisconsin has authorized a total of $30.6 million in loans and grants to help construct, preserve or upgrade rail-related facilities across the state, the Business Journal of Milwaukee reports. Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle said 10 state awards as part of overall efforts to support job growth and Wisconsin's agricultural economy.

"Freight rail plays a critical role in Wisconsin's transportation system, moving some 150 million tons of commodities every year," Doyle said. "These grants and loans will help retain jobs and spur economic growth in many rural communities while strengthening our agricultural economy."

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation is administering three loan awards totaling nearly $3.4 million through the Freight Railroad Infrastructure Improvement Program, a revolving loan program that uses repaid dollars on previous loans for new projects. Most of the work on the recently approved loan projects will begin this fall and continue in the spring of 2010.

Seven grant awards totaling $27.2 million are being distributed through the state's Freight Railroad Preservation Program. These grants cover up to 80 percent of the cost of projects designed to preserve rail service or rehabilitate fixed facilities on publicly owned rail lines. Award recipients provide the 20 percent local share.

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