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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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