MnDOT, NJDOT Award $35MM in Freight Rail Improvement Grants

Written by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor, Railway Age
Conrail is receiving a $5 million grant from the NJDOT for its Garden State Secondary Fluidity Improvements-Phase 1 project. (Conrail Photograph)
Conrail is receiving a $5 million grant from the NJDOT for its Garden State Secondary Fluidity Improvements-Phase 1 project. (Conrail Photograph)

The departments of transportation in Minnesota (MnDOT) and New Jersey (NJDOT) are investing $6.95 million and $27.8 million, respectively, in projects that will improve freight rail infrastructure.

MnDOT selected nine projects in 2023 to receive funding through the Minnesota Rail Service Improvement grant program, which focuses on projects that will boost economic development.

The recipients are:

  1. RLS GL Intermediate II LLC (Dundas): $1.9 million to improve and expand rail access at an intermodal refrigerated facility site.
  2. Northern Country COOP (Lansing): $1.2 million to install a rail loop track that will connect to an existing rail line.
  3. Central Farm Service (Delavan): $1 million to expand and improve rail yard efficiency.
  4. F.W. Cobs Company, Inc. (Stewart): $641,000 to install a railcar loading system and an in-track railcar mover to increase the volume of railcars loaded at a facility.
  5. Minnesota Commercial Railway (New Brighton): $599,000 to upgrade a stretch of track to accommodate heavier railcars.
  6. KT Transload LLC. (Ortonville): $536,000 to upgrade and modernize an abandoned rail spur to connect new business to an existing rail line.
  7. Northern Lines Railway, an Anacostia Rail Holdings subsidiary (St. Cloud): $381,000 to modernize and upgrade rail and switches and to rehabilitate one concrete grade crossing.
  8. Red River Grain Company (Breckenridge): $370,000 to modernize and upgrade track to accommodate higher rail volume.
  9. Minnesota Valley Regional Railroad Authority (Morton): $322,000 to rehabilitate a rail bridge.

According to MnDOT, 15 applications requesting a total of $14.7 million were submitted for this round of grant funding.

“The number of applications received again this winter continues to show the strong demand for improving freight rail infrastructure throughout the state,” said Peter Dahlberg, MnDOT Transportation Planning Director for Rail and Freight Programs. “Better rail service gives local Minnesota businesses more opportunities to compete in global and national markets.”

The NJDOT is supporting six projects that will improve safety and economic activity through the FY23 Rail Freight Assistance Program. The $27.8 million in state grants will leverage an additional $3.2 million from railroad owners and operators, bringing the total investment to more than $31 million in projects that will upgrade and rehabilitate ties, rails and switches of out-of-service and in-service tracks; install new rails; construct a new track connection; and extend a siding. 

The recipients are:

  1. New Jersey Rail Carrier, LLC/Interstate Waste (Kearny): $6,400,158.44 for the New Jersey Rail Carrier Rail Freight Project-Phase 3. Total project cost: $7,111,287.16.
  2. Strategic Solutions, LLC (North Bergen Township): $2,546,797.50 for the Strategic Rail Solutions Rail Expansion Project-Phase 1. Total project cost: $2,829,775.00.
  3. Conrail (Perth Amboy City / Woodbridge Township): $5 million for Garden State Secondary Fluidity Improvements-Phase 1. Total project cost: $5,555,555.56.
  4. Delaware and Raritan River Railroad, LLC (Howell): $5,371,596.00 for F&S Connection-Phase 2. Total project cost: $6,018,440.00.
  5. County of Salem: $2,783,000.00 for FY23 RFAP Salem Rail Yard Rehabilitation. Total project cost: $2,783,000.00.
  6. Port Authority of New York & New Jersey (Elizabeth City): $6 million for ExpressRail Southbound Connector Construction-Phase 1. Total project cost: $6,666,666.67.

According to NJDOT, factors considered in the project selection process include: existing condition, type of project, efficient and responsive freight distribution, and highway congestion mitigation. Additionally, project sponsors are required to continue freight service on the improved line for at least five years after completion of the project.

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