Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray, Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) Secretary and CEO Richard Davey and local officials highlighted this year's Industrial Rail Access Program (IRAP) recipients operating in Massachusetts.
“As part of the Massachusetts State Rail Plan, we are focused on increasing access for freight rail service to support regional economic growth,” said Lt. Gov. Murray. “By investing in these projects, we are upgrading the commonwealth’s freight rail network, which will not only attract new business and jobs, but also promote a more efficient transportation of goods and services.”
“Our team has closely vetted the recipient proposals to assure conformity with local and regional transportation plans, as well as economic development initiatives,” said Secretary Davey. “We will monitor closely the completion and success of these projects.”
The MassDOT Industrial Rail Access Program was created through the 2012 Transportation Bond Bill to provide grants to railroads, rail shippers and municipalities who identify a public benefit that will be gained through the improved use of the rail transportation network or that will facilitate economic growth through access to rail assets within the commonwealth.
The IRAP recipients reflect a wide range of projects, which meet the program objectives of improved use of the rail network while facilitating economic growth. The total amount awarded is $2.85 million; the matching funds listed are covered by each applicant.
Church Street LLC & Frade’s Disposal on the Mass Coastal Railroad in New Bedford seek to add a rail siding to better serve their transportation needs. This project will construct a 3,000-foot railroad siding, install a switch, construct a rail-served loading dock and improve a private railroad crossing. The project has the potential to generate 800 carloads. IRAP awarded $427,500, the matching contribution is $285,000 and the total project cost equals $712,500.
Maritime Terminal on the Mass Coastal Railroad will rehabilitate an existing rail spur and loading dock at its warehouse. The project is crucial to properly serve this important rail market and to reduce the number of truck movements. IRAP awarded $65,889, the matching contribution is $43,926, and the total project cost equals $109,816.
Covanta SEMASS on the Mass Coastal Railroad in Rochester will install a switch and approximately 400 feet of track into an existing truck load out bay on the SEMASS facilities tipping floor. The project will allow Covanta SEMASS to continue shipping 40 rail cars per year of Non-Ferrous metals, as well as potentially 350 rail cars per year of other metals. IRAP awarded $167,040, the matching contribution is $111,360 and the total project cost equals $278,400.
MWRA FRRC Quincy – Braintree will replace a railroad bridge with a culvert on the Fore River Railroad. The bridge originally served a cattle crossing below the railroad, which is no longer needed and is functionally obsolete. The Fore River Railroad is a 2.7-mile shortline in Quincy and Braintree that is wholly owned by the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority. The railroad serves freight customers in the Fore River Shipyard.
IRAP awarded $342,000, the matching contribution is $232,244 and the total project cost equals $574,244.
Providence & Worcester Railroad (P&W) in Worcester will replace two bridges with a new structure Worcester. The project is required to maintain rail service to Cargill, a Worcester-based customer of the P&W, as well as preserving access to Midstates Packaging, another Worcester-based customer, for transloading operations. IRAP awarded $313,214, the matching contribution is $208,809 and the total project cost equals $522,023.
New England Central Railroad in Palmer will construct a new rail siding, which will increase the number of cars handled by Sherwood Lumber from three to 20 at the same time, as well as make loading dock and laydown area improvements. The project is expected to increase efficiency by 30 percent, reduce operating costs by 30 percent and potentially increase carloads by 100 percent. IRAP awarded $500,000, the matching contribution is $1,175,000 and the total project cost: $1,675,000.
New England Central Railroad (NECR) will improve the mainline tracks in Amherst. The NECR is a shortline railroad that serves customers in Palmer, Belchertown, Monson and Millers Falls. IRAP awarded $500,000, the matching contribution is $1,052,597 and the total project cost equals $1,552,597.
Grafton & Upton will expand and make improvements to the Hopedale yard by constructing a switching lead and several sidings throughout the yard. IRAP awarded $221,700, the matching contribution is $330,300 and the total project cost equals $552,000.
Fitchburg Redevelopment Authority will rehabilitate and reconnect a rail siding into the Fitchburg Industrial Park. IRAP awarded $309,900, the matching contribution is $249,959 and the total project cost equals $559,859.