Pa. provides $20 million in freight rail grants
The state of Pennsylvania will invest $20 million to help seven railroads and five businesses undergo freight rail improvement projects designed to increase economic growth and reduce congestion, Gov. Edward Rendell said Thursday.
Several of the grants approved by the State Transportation Commission will provide local businesses with connection to rail lines.
One project, for example, will provide $2.1 million to United States Gypsum’s proposal to construct 10 industrial tracks at its new wallboard manufacturing plant in Washingtonville. The spurs will be used to deliver inbound raw materials and ship outbound products.
Railroads will also receive money for track rehabilitation, bridge repair and rail line connections. The Allegheny Valley Railroad, a shortline operator, will receive a $1 million grant to fix three rail bridges, including the replacement of bridge timbers on the Allegheny River Bridge.
The grants are administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Rail Freight, Ports and Waterways. There are 65 railroads operating in the state.
Other grants are:
' $2.24 million for track rehabilitation and bridge repairs on the Pittsburgh and Ohio Central Railroad, which handles a large amount of hazardous materials.
' $3.3 million to CSX Transportation to improve overhead clearances at 16 locations allowing double-stack trains carrying containers to and from Philadelphia.
' $2.5 million for the Reading Blue Mountain and Northern Railroad Co. to construct a bridge over the Lehigh River near the town of Jim Thorpe. The bridge will complete the connection between the company’s Lehigh division and the Carbon and Schuylkill branch.
' $1.25 million for Sunnyside Ethanol for track work and construction to serve the new plant in Curwensville.
' $630,000 for Renovo Rail Industries, a start-up railcar repair operation.
' $840,000 for the Greater Erie Industrial Development Corp. for track work to serve the industrial park at the former International Paper site, including extending track to connect the east and west sides of the industrial park.
' 2.24 million to Buffalo and Pittsburgh Railroad for track rehabilitation to handle transformers and coal shipments to the Homer City Power Station.
' $1.15 million to the SEDA-COG Joint Rail Authority for track repairs at the Newberry Yard intermodal facility of the Lycoming Valley Railroad and for construction of a bulk-transfer facility for food products, plastics and other commodities.
' $1.33 million for SEDA-COG for track work and construction on the Juniata Valley Railroad’s West Park Track to serve the new First Quarterly Enterprises plan in the Miffin County Industrial Park.
' $1 million for Westmoreland County Industrial Development Corp. to remove and reconstruct a siding on the Southwest Pennsylvania Railroad to allow for improved rail storage and interchange with the Norfolk Southern Railroad.