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Kansas railroads receive an infusion of cash for needed updates

(WCAX)
Published: Jun. 29, 2020 at 12:34 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The Kansas Department of Transportation is investing in nine railroad improvement projects.

The Kansas Department of Transportation says it is invested in the success of shipping, agriculture and railroad industries and is showing it by giving $11.5 million in State Rail Service Improvement Fund grants.

KDOT says the program is intended to improve rail access for business and preserve the condition of Kansas’ railroad network.

“We received a great amount of interest in the program this year,” says John Maddox, Manager of the Freight and Rail Unit. “This gave KDOT the opportunity to select projects that will make a significant impact in the shipping, agriculture and railroad industries.”

KDOT says the total for the nine projects is $21.8 million and construction is expected to begin in the third quarter of 2020.

According to the department, 16 applications were submitted by railroads and shippers that totaled over $38.9 million in project costs.

KDOT says four other major rehabilitation and rail replacement projects which take $11.2 million in grant funds as part of the Rail Upgrade Initiative are under construction and expected to be completed during the second quarter of 2021. According to the department, the four projects are expected to cost $18.5 million.

“The short line network in Kansas makes up 40% of the rail infrastructure across the state,” Maddox said. “Short lines serve a vital role in keeping the Kansas agricultural sector and shippers (agricultural and industry/manufacturing) connected to the Class 1 rail network.  This connection keeps Kansas shippers connected to regional, national and international markets for Kansas products.”

KDOT says overall it has invested $22.7 million through the two programs.

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