Wisconsin Department of Transportation
Press Release

Governor Walker announces more than $24 million in freight rail awards

Governor Scott Walker today approved six freight rail improvement projects totaling more than $24 million in grants and loans.

By - Oct 9th, 2014 02:22 pm

Governor Scott Walker today approved six freight rail improvement projects totaling more than $24 million in grants and loans. The goal of Wisconsin’s freight railroad assistance program is to increase the use of rail transportation and support economic development and job creation.

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) is distributing more than $20.3 million in grants through the Freight Railroad Preservation Program (FRPP). FRPP grants cover up to 80 percent of projects designed to preserve freight rail service or rehabilitate track on publicly-owned rail lines. In addition, WisDOT is awarding $3.8 million in loans through the state’s Freight Railroad Infrastructure Improvement Program (FRIIP). FRIIP is a revolving loan program used to improve rail infrastructure and construct new rail-served facilities.  Recipients of 2014-2015 FRPP grants and FRIIP loans include:

Port of Milwaukee – City of Milwaukee

A $1,449,184 FRPP grant was awarded to cover 80 percent of the costs of a $1,811,480 reconstruction of the Lake Classification Rail Yard at the Port of Milwaukee facilities on Jones Island. The funds will be used to improve deteriorated tracks. Presently, there are a number of companies wishing to ship products that are unable to do so because of the condition of the tracks. The Lake Classification Yard and Port of Milwaukee are served by the Soo Line Railroad Company and Union Pacific Railroad Company.

Wisconsin and Southern Railroad Company (WSOR): Four project awards

  • Fairwater to Markesan – track rehabilitation: $4,116,160 FRPP grant and a $514,520 FRIIP loan to replace some 4,000 rail ties, five public road crossings and six turnout switches. Additionally, WSOR will install 4,000 tons of new ballast with tamping and surfacing of the railroad bed as well as 7.2 miles of continuously welded rail line. The Fairwater to Markesan rail line is owned by the state and the East Wisconsin Counties Railroad Consortium.
  • Watertown Line – track rehabilitation: $4,489,128 FRPP grant and $561,141 FRIIP loan to surface track, replace 47,800 ties requiring 560 tons of ballast per mile and renew 26 crossings. The Madison to Watertown rail line is owned by WisDOT and the Wisconsin River Rail Transit Commission.
  • Waukesha to Milton – track rehabilitation: $1,440,000 FRPP grant and $180,000 FRIIP loan to begin the first phase of a multi-year project to rehabilitate 41.25 miles of track. The first year of the project includes the renewal of 15 rail crossings. When complete, there will be 30,000 new ties, new ballast with tamping and surfacing of the railroad bed and newly installed continuously welded rail. The Waukesha to Milton rail line is owned by WisDOT and the Wisconsin River Rail Transit Commission.
  • Bridge rehabilitation and replacement: $8,800,000 FRPP grant and $1,100,000 FRIIP loan to rehabilitate and reconstruct approximately 50 bridges that have been identified by engineering studies as needing repairs that are vital to keeping state-owned railroad corridors operational. Locations (number of bridges) include: Oshkosh Subdivision (8), Waukesha Sub (3), Prairie Sub (16), Watertown Sub (6), Reedsburg/Cottage Grove Sub (6), Cambria Sub (3), Plymouth Sub (4), Madison Sub (3), the Monroe Sub (1) and the Gibson Spur (1).

Farm City Elevator Inc.

A $1,500,000 million FRIIP loan was awarded to construct an additional 765,000 bushel grain storage bin at the facility previously owned by Zenda Grain LLC. in Zenda, Wisconsin. The 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. Farm City Elevator continues to take advantage of this location near the Chicago grain markets. The addition of the facility will continue to enhance the southeast Wisconsin farming economy.

Since 1993, WisDOT has provided more than $221 million in FRPP grants and more than $123 million in FRIIP loans.

There are 13 freight railroads in Wisconsin and more than 3,500 miles of track. Freight rail moves an estimated 162 million tons of commodities every year.

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