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Kansas governor announces $5 million for short-line rail projects

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Tom Joyce

(The Center Square) - Kansas will spend nearly $5 million on nine short-line rail maintenance and rehabilitation projects.

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly announced the funding on Tuesday. The comes from the state’s Department of Transportation’s Short Line Rail Improvement Fund (SLRIF) program.  

“These nine rail improvement projects will strengthen Kansas’ agriculture supply chain, connecting our farmers and ranchers to regional, national, and international markets,” Governor Kelly said in a press release. “My administration will continue to invest in needed and commonsense infrastructure improvements like these to maximize our state’s economic potential.” 

Six of these SLRIF recipients plan to use the funding for major track rehabilitation and rail replacement. The other three recipients will use the money for siding extensions and storage tracks.

“These projects support rail enhancements to expand carload capabilities, reduce truck traffic, increase operating speeds, and improve operating efficiencies,” the release from the governor’s office said.

These nine entities received the available funding this year.

  • Bestifor Farms in Republic County (Siding extension) – $454,622.00  
  • Cargill – Salina, in Saline County (Storage tracks )-- $1,252,530.94  
  • Gavilon Grain in Sedgwick County (Major rehabilitation with rail relay) – $421,664.64  
  • Garden City Western Railroad in Finney County (Major rehabilitation with rail relay) – $395,850.00  
  • Hi-Plains Cooperative Association in Sheridan County (Major rehabilitation with siding) – $276,716.90  
  • Kansas-Oklahoma Railroad – Wichita South Yard in Sedgwick County (Major rehabilitation) – $243,559.27  
  • Scoular Grain – Pittsburg, in Crawford County (Siding extension) – $580,098.44  
  • South Kansas & Oklahoma Railroad in Elk County (Rail replacement) – $700,000.00
  • V&S Railway in Barber and Harper counties (Major rehabilitation) – $666,366.77 

Each of the nine projects will also receive a 30% match fund from the state, increasing the total rail infrastructure investment to nearly $6.5 million.

The program received 19 applications. The applicants requested more than $18 million in funding in this third round of the program. SLRIF also made $5 million in funding available in the previous two years.

“The Short Line Rail Improvement Fund is another opportunity for KDOT to partner with industry to help modernize and make needed improvements,” Calvin Reed, Acting Secretary of Transportation, said in the release. “Projects awarded through this program serve both short line railroads and their customers by investing in critical infrastructure that helps drive the Kansas economy.”