A Mid-Michigan railroad company is getting some big money from the federal government to improve the tracks and potentially boost the local economy.
The Lake State Railway Company operates hundreds of miles of track. Running from its headquarters in Saginaw to Gaylord, around Mid-Michigan and south to Wayne County.
“We’re excited, this is a great deal,” said John Rickoff, of Lake State Railway Company.
Rickoff’s business is getting more than $8 million in federal funding for its Mackinaw subline that runs from Linwood north to Gaylord.
Rickoff plans to use the money to relay rail and replace old switches along that line.
“It’s going to bring extra work into our territory. It will really be beneficial from a safety standpoint, and improvement in service for customers along the line,” Rickoff said.
He said improvements along the Mackinaw sub will have a ripple effect on benefiting local industries from agriculture to lumber.
“It actually does have an impact across our system. Because by getting some federal dollars we can accelerate rehab of one of our line segments and continue to focus our efforts on other line segments with our other cash,” Rickoff said.
In all, there will be more than $16 million worth of improvements thanks to matching funds from state and company resources.
Rockoff feels this is a positive move for everyone that relies on his company.
“I think it’s a great deal for the state of Michigan. A great deal for the customers along the line, it’s a great deal for Lake State Railway. It’s a win-win-win and that’s the kind of business we like to do,” Rickoff said.
Rickoff said his company should see the money starting next year.