Mid-Michigan freight railroad companies receive grant funding
MID-MICHIGAN (WNEM) - Three freight railroad companies have received grant funding from the 2023 Michigan Rail Enhancement Grant Program (M-REP) to improve rail safety, operational efficiency, accessibility, capacity, and condition.
On Friday, June 9, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) announced the first round of recipients for M-REP that will invest $19 million towards 12 freight rail projects across Michigan.
Huron and Eastern Railway Co., Lake State Railway Co., who received funding for two separate projects, and the Huron and Eastern Railway Company, Inc. were three of those 12 recipients.
“With approximately 3,600 miles of rail corridors in Michigan operated by 29 freight railroads, freight rail keeps our diverse economy rolling,” said Whitmer. “From farmers depending on rail to haul their crops to market, to auto manufacturers shipping finished products across North America, rail creates jobs and serves communities across our state.”
M-REP grants reimburse up to 70 percent of project costs associated with railroad track, bridges, grade crossings, rail scales to weigh freight cars on mainline corridors and at rail yards, intermodal facilities, and transload facilities.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for growth in West Michigan and the agriculture industry,” said Sen. Roger Victory. “Making these types of smart investments in our rail systems will unlock new levels of production and improve logistics across the board.”
John Rickooff, chief executive officer and president of the Lake State Railway Co., said the company is excited to participate in the first round of the M-REP awards.
“Lake State Railway looks forward to working with MDOT to complete these projects,” he said.
The following are the projects M-REP is granting funds to in mid-Michigan:
- Huron and Eastern Railway Co. has been awarded $2.5 million for tie, ballast replacement, and track surfacing. The total project cost is estimated to be more than $4 million.
- Serving Saginaw County.
- Lake State Railway Co. has been awarded $194,352 for a hot box detector and automatic equipment identification. The project is estimated to cost $277,645 in total.
- Serving Genesee County, Saginaw County, Midland County, Bay County, and Oakland County.
- Lake State Railway Co. has been awarded $424,841 for replacement and track surfacing. The total project cost is estimated to be $606,915.
- Serving Bay County.
- Huron and Eastern Railway Company, Inc. has been awarded $2.5 million to purchase 44 covered hopper freight cars. The total project cost is estimated to total $5.5 million.
- Serving Saginaw County, Bay County, Tuscola County, Huron County, Sanilac County, Genesee County, and Shiawassee County.
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