Grants will improve U.P.’s rail system

NEWBERRY — The Michigan Department of Transportation has announced the recipients for the 2024 Michigan Rail Enhancement Grant Program that will invest $16 million toward freight rail projects across Michiganaccording to an MDOT news release.

The 10 projects, one of which is located in Luce County, were competitively selected to make strategic investments in freight rail corridors and facilities to improve rail safety, operational efficiency, accessibility, capacity, and condition.

Here are the regional project’s details: The Grand Elk Railroad applied; tie and ballast replacement and bridge repairs were the reasons; grant amount was $2,230,693; total project cost was $3,186,704.

“Michigan’s freight rail system has always been a vital asset in keeping our economy moving by transporting everything, like agricultural products, finished automobiles, consumer goods, building materials, and much more,” said State Transportation Director Bradley C. Wieferich. “These grants will assist railroads in making crucial infrastructure investments that will help provide for safe and efficient transportation.”

M-REP grants reimburse up to 70 percent of project costs associated with railroad track, bridges, grade crossings, rail scales to weigh freight cars on mainline corridors and at rail yards, intermodal facilities, and transload facilities. Movable equipment or freight rail rolling stock may be considered if plans are submitted that provide adequate controls for Michigan-specific use.

“We truly appreciate the MDOT Office of Rail’s commitment to the Adrian and Blissfied Railroad (A&B),” said Chris Bagwell, A&B president. “The M-REP funding allows for continued enhancement of our track infrastructure, as well as driving economic value for Michigan businesses who ship bulk commodities on our lines. Outside of our existing freight business, the increased capacity realized through these projects make it more enticing for potential outside entities to locate in Michigan, driving business growth in our home state. When evaluating private and public partnerships, MDOT has set the standard on what that can look like. We are not only grateful for MDOT’s support of A&B, but also grateful for their support of the Michigan rail network as a whole.”

Funds were dedicated for rail-related economic development projects and rail freight system preservation projects.

The grants will leverage approximately $11 million in private investment in the rail system.


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