Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly announced on Feb. 28 that the Kansas Department of Transportation's Short Line Rail Improvement Fund program will award nearly $5 million to nine shortline rail maintenance and rehabilitation projects.
“These nine rail improvement projects will strengthen Kansas’ agriculture supply chain, connecting our farmers and ranchers to regional, national, and international markets,” Kelly said. “My administration will continue to invest in needed and commonsense infrastructure improvements like these to maximize our state’s economic potential.”
Six of the project funding recipients will use the money for major track rehabilitation and rail replacement, while three projects plan to use the funds for siding extensions and storage tracks. The projects are expected to boost carload capabilities, increase operating speeds, and improve operational efficiencies, a release said.
State funding for the nine projects will see a 30% match from each recipient, amounting to a total rail infrastructure investment of nearly $6.5 million.
In this third and final round of funding for the program through IKE, the state’s 10-year bipartisan transportation program, the program received 19 applications requesting more than $18 million in program funds. The Improvement Fund set aside $5 million for each of the state fiscal years 2021, 2022, and 2023, according to a release.
“The Short Line Rail Improvement Fund is another opportunity for KDOT to partner with industry to help modernize and make needed improvements,” said Calvin Reed, acting secretary of Transportation. “Projects awarded through this program serve both short line railroads and their customers by investing in critical infrastructure that helps drive the Kansas economy.”
The funding recipients include Garden City Western Railroad (Patriot Rail) in Finney County; Kansas-Oklahoma Railroad (Watco) – Wichita South Yard in Sedgwick County; South Kansas & Oklahoma Railroad (Watco) in Elk County; and V&S Railway in Barber and Harper counties.