Topeka, KS (STL.News) Governor Laura Kelly and Transportation Secretary Julie Lorenz announced this morning the recipients of the Kansas Department of Transportation’s new Short Line Rail Fund program. They were joined by Ron Seeber, president and CEO of the Kansas Grain and Feed Association and Bruce Carswell, senior vice president and COO of the Western Group, which owns the Cimarron Valley Railroad.
Thirteen projects were awarded grants totaling $5 million. Four projects were awarded to short line railroads and nine projects were awarded to shippers. The program is a partnership between the public and private sector, as applicants are required to provide 30% in matching funds. This year’s selected projects will improve and/or construct nearly 15 miles of track totaling a $7 million investment.
“This project, and the IKE program as a whole, exemplify the change in how this administration does business,” said Governor Laura Kelly. “The State of Kansas will benefit because of programs like IKE, which demonstrates how government can be dynamic, fiscally responsible, and implement cutting-edge strategies to produce results for our communities.”
Projects were selected based on the following criteria:
- Long-term impact on rail operations, economic competitiveness, and safety;
- Enhanced goods movement and logistical improvements;
- Job creation and the ability to expand currently served markets; and
- Enhanced efficiency of rail operations and the reliability of the impacted railroad.
The Short Line Rail Fund was created under Governor Kelly’s Eisenhower Legacy Transportation Program, commonly referred to as IKE. It provides $5 million annually for three years.
“KDOT recognizes the important role that rail plays in our state’s economy and the Short Line Rail Improvement Fund is another opportunity for us to partner with industry to help modernize and make needed improvements,” said Secretary Lorenz. “Across all of our funding programs, KDOT is partnering on rail projects worth over $102 million in 36 counties across Kansas.”