WisDOT: Governor Walker announces freight rail awards totaling nearly $12 million

For more information, contact:

Frank Huntington, WisDOT Bureau of Transit, Local Roads, Rails and Harbors

(608) 267-3710, [email protected]

Governor Scott Walker today announced six state awards totaling $11,955,358 that will be used to construct freight rail-related facilities, and preserve and upgrade rail infrastructure as part of overall efforts to support job growth and Wisconsin’s economy.

“Wisconsin’s freight rail system plays a major role in our state’s economy, moving raw materials to industry and finished products to markets,” Governor Walker said. “These awards will help support economic growth in communities across our state and help ensure Wisconsin remains open for business.”

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) is administering six loans totaling $6,118,595 through the Freight Railroad Infrastructure Improvement Program (FRIIP). As a revolving loan program, FRIIP awards are provided to private industries, railroads and local governments. Loans are used to improve rail infrastructure, highway/grade crossings and construct new rail-served facilities. The program’s overall goal is to boost economic development and jobs. As FRIIP loans are repaid, the dollars help fund new projects.

Two grants totaling $5,836,763 are being distributed through the state’s Freight Railroad Preservation Program (FRPP). FRPP grants cover up to 80 percent of the cost of projects designed to preserve rail service or rehabilitate fixed facilities on publicly-owned rail lines.

Since 1993, WisDOT has provided more than $111 million in FRIIP loans and more than $145 million in FRPP grants. Twelve freight railroads operate in Wisconsin on a system of more than 3,500 miles of track and move an estimated 190 million tons of commodities every year.

Summaries of the loans and grants follow.

2013 Freight Railroad Preservation Program grant awards – (Both include FRIIP loans)

* Escanaba & Lake Superior Railroad Co., (906) 786-0693
One Larkin Plaza, P.O. Box 217, Wells, MI 49894

Bridge replacements along main line from Green Bay to Michigan State Line: Escanaba & Lake Superior Railroad (E&LS) will receive $1,836,763 in grant funds to cover 80 percent of the costs of replacing six aging bridges in Oconto and Marinette counties. WisDOT will provide another $229,595 in the form of a loan to cover one-half of the 20 percent local match. The remaining 10 percent, or $229,595, will be provided by E&LS. The total project cost will be $2,295,954. Replacing the bridges lessens the risk of a major derailment as a result of a bridge failing, thus keeping the line available for current and potential shippers.

* Wisconsin & Southern Railroad Co., (414) 438-8220
5300 N. 33rd Street, Milwaukee, WI 53209

Bridge rehabilitation and replacement: The Wisconsin & Southern Railroad (WSOR) will receive a total of $4 million in grant funds to cover 80 percent of costs for emergency rehabilitation and reconstruction work on system bridges. A WisDOT loan of $500,000 will also be provided to cover 10 percent of the project costs. The remaining 10 percent, $500,000, will be provided by the WSOR. Total project cost will be $5,000,000. These projects have been identified by engineering studies as emergency repairs that are vital to keep state-owned railroad corridors operational. The WSOR has identified more than $33 million of bridge work that is needed over the next several years. This award will be used to fund an additional $2 million of work identified for B-318 near Woodman. In addition, three bridges in Grant, Iowa and Green Counties will be replaced at an approximate cost of $3 million.

2013 Freight Railroad Infrastructure Improvement Program (FRIIP) loan awards

* Zenda Grain LLC, (715) 205-9946
W3725 Builders Ct., P.O. Box 32, Zenda, WI 53195

A $1.5 million loan is approved to Zenda Grain to construct a grain drying and storage facility at its existing grain elevator site. The project will consist of two 48 foot diameter grain bins, a 12 by 24 foot concrete grain dump pit, and a 110 foot elevator leg. The total estimated cost is $1.5 million. Any additional cost and the grain dryer itself will be paid by the company. The project is located at the company’s Zenda, Wisconsin property. The Zenda Grain LLC facility is located on a rail line served by the Wisconsin and Southern Railroad Company, on right of way owned by the State of Wisconsin and the Wisconsin River Rail Transit Commission. Zenda Grain continues to take advantage of its location near Chicago grain markets. The facility upgrades should increase the market for wheat, corn and soy beans and enhance the southeast Wisconsin farming economy.

* Landmark Services Cooperative, (608) 819-3120
6524 County M, Evansville, WI 53536

A loan of $1.5 million has been awarded to Landmark Services Cooperative to construct a new 730,000 bushel capacity grain storage bin at its facility near Evansville, Wisconsin. The total estimated cost is $1,645,000. The main purpose of the project is to provide additional storage space for grain during the harvest season, which can then be held for later shipment through the rail terminal. This will give south central Wisconsin farmers additional options for storing and marketing their grain. The facility is served by the Union Pacific Railroad.

* Millard Feed, Inc. – dba Agroliance, (262) 215-2158
2939 Old Hwy 140 South, Avalon, WI 53505

Agroliance has been approved for a $610,000 loan, which is also the total estimated project cost. Construction will consist of a rail siding and load out facility along with a one million gallon capacity liquid fertilizer storage tank. Area farmers will benefit from additional nitrogen solution availability, while the company will see an increase in sales by 1,000 tons per year. The facility is served by Wisconsin and Southern Railroad, on a rail line owned by the State of Wisconsin and the Wisconsin River Rail Transit Commission.

* Sharratt Warehousing & Distribution LLC, (920) 650-8147
PO Box 382, Jefferson, WI 53549-0382

A loan award to Sharratt Warehousing and Distribution of $1,779,000 has been approved for a rail siding and loading facility as part of a planned temperature controlled warehouse in the City of Reedsburg. The total cost of the project is estimated at $14 million. Initially, the warehouse will focus on supporting the local existing industries whose products require freezer or cooler temperatures. It can then evolve into a catalyst for future industrial expansion. The rail line is owned by the Union Pacific Railroad and operated by the Wisconsin & Southern Railroad under a long term lease.