S.D. will guide its way through big future funds for railroad infrastructure

Written by RT&S Staff

South Dakota’s four-year railroad plan will come with its own guide.

The state is developing a strategy and has hired HDR Engineering to put together an investment guide and plan. The final version will be revealed to the Railroad Board in October.

South Dakota’s fund balance for railroad projects has been on the rise over the last few months. Back in June 2020 it stood at just $5 million, but it could exceed $25 million by June 30, 2022. According to state Transportation Secretary Joel Jundt, more than $40 million could be available in FY 2026.

The guide will allow the Railroad Board to gain an understanding about the rate of return and other financial details that could be used to receive future federal grants. The guide also will help encourage economic development and upgrades to the rail lines.

The first draft of the guide will be presented at the board’s Feb. 16 meeting or the March meeting.

The transportation department is working with HDR to look at how other states handle railroad money. In the past, the state legislature has pulled millions from the railroad fund for other investments.

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