Nine short line rail maintenance and rehabilitation projects are receiving nearly $5 million as part of Short Line Rail Improvement Fund or SLRIF program operated by the Kansas Department of Transportation.
Six of the projects will use SLRIF funds for major track rehabilitation and rail replacement, while the remaining three plan to put their funding towards siding extensions and storage tracks.
All nine projects support rail enhancements to expand carload capabilities, reduce truck traffic, increase operating speeds, and improve operating efficiencies, the Kansas DOT said.
“These nine rail improvement projects will strengthen Kansas’ agriculture supply chain, connecting our farmers and ranchers to regional, national, and international markets,” noted Governor Laura Kelly (D) in a statement.
“The Short Line Rail Improvement Fund is another opportunity for us to partner with industry to help modernize and make needed improvements,” added Calvin Reed, acting Kansas DOT secretary.
“Projects awarded through this program serve both short line railroads and their customers by investing in critical infrastructure that helps drive the Kansas economy,” he said.
Kansas DOT noted that a 30 percent match from each recipient should enhance the state funding awarded to those nine projects, resulting in a total rail infrastructure investment of nearly $6.5 million.
The agency noted that its SLRIF program received 19 applications requesting more than $18 million in program funds in this third and final round of funding for the program through the Eisenhower Legacy Transportation or IKE plan, the state’s 10-year transportation program signed into law by the governor in April 2020.
The IKE plan provided the SLRIF program with $5 million annually for state fiscal years 2021, 2022, and 2023, Kansas DOT noted.