On Aug. 17, Gov. Laura Kelly and Transportation Secretary Julie Lorenz announced 10 projects, totaling more than $5.2 million, were awarded as part of the Kansas Department of Transportation's Short Line Rail Improvement Fund Program. The announcement took place at the Gavilon grain elevator in southwest Wichita, one of the recipients of program funding.
"These ten improvement projects will connect Kansas grain businesses with new regions and customers, supporting farmers and our agriculture industry," said Kelly. "My administration will continue to invest in needed and commonsense infrastructure improvements like these to strengthen our growing economy."
Six projects were awarded to shippers and four projects were awarded to short line railroads in nine counties across Kansas. State funding for the individual projects ranges from $56,000 for the installation of new scales to nearly $2 million for siding expansion to increase railcar capacity and carloading capabilities.
Switch and crossing replacements will reduce crossing delays for vehicles. All projects will result in less wear and tear on Kansas roadways and bridges. State funding for the 10 projects will be enhanced by a 30 percent match from each recipient, meaning more than $7.4 million will be invested in the state's agricultural infrastructure.
Lorenz said KDOT received 19 applications requesting more than $21 million in this second year of the three-year Short Line Rail Improvement Program.
"In partnership with shippers and short line railroads, these modernization projects are improving commerce and opportunity for Kansas families and their communities," said Lorenz. "Together we're working to better connect Kansas-grown grain to the broader network of Class 1 rail for delivery to regional, national and international markets."
The Short Line Rail Improvement Fund provides $5 million annually for three years. The program was created as part of the Kelly Administration's 10-year, bipartisan Eisenhower Legacy Transportation Program.
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