The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) has approved $34.7 million in funds for 33 freight rail projects across the state which will create more than 43,000 jobs.
“Pennsylvania has more operating railroads than any other state and investing in our rail freight network keeps these invaluable assets in prime position to generate economic growth and jobs,” Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett said. “Improving rail networks not only spurs our economy, it also increases safety by helping to ease traffic on our highways.”
The State Transportation Commission (STC) voted to approve $33.4 million for 15 projects through the Rail Transportation Assistance Program (RTAP) and 14 projects through the Rail Freight Assistance Program (RFAP). RTAP is a capital budget grant program funded with bonds and RFAP is underwritten through the new Multi-Modal Fund, created by Act 89. The STC approved $1.3 million for four projects from Marcellus Shale impact fees designated for distribution through PennDOT’s Bureau of Rail Freight, Ports and Waterways.
RTAP Projects include $1.2 million to construct 4,500 feet of track for a new interchange siding with the Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway at Bruceton, Pa., for the Allegheny Valley Railroad Co.; $2.5 million to reconstruct the existing rail yard and construct additional track for South Avis Realty; $4 million to construct a 7,000-foot unit train loop track and a 400-foot industrial track siding for a new tenant in the Keystone Regional Industrial Park and nearly $7 million to construct a rail siding transfer station along the Buffalo & Pittsburgh line for Casella Waste Management of Pennsylvania, Inc.
RFAP Projects include $700,000 for the last phase of track rehabilitation in the Leetsdale Industrial Corp. industrial park, including turnout replacement, welding, upgrading rail and rail alignment; $229,320 to replace crossties, improve drainage and remove and replace ballast at Techs Industries, Inc.; $732,200 to add five new tracks, five new turnouts, realign 390 feet of mainline track, add four new turnouts and 1,350 feet of new track for Columbia and Reading Railway Co. LLC, and $700,000 to rehabilitate track in the Buck Mountain tunnel, including replacing 2,478 ties on the Reading Blue Mountain and Northern Railroad.
For a full list of the 33 projects click here.