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massdot_logoThe Baker-Polito Administration’s Department of Transportation (MassDOT) today announced the awarding of five grants totaling over $1.8 million as part of the Industrial Rail Access Program (IRAP) which helps increase rail and freight access, economic opportunity, and job growth.

IRAP is a competitive state-funded public/private partnership program that provides financial assistance to eligible applicants to invest in industry-based rail infrastructure access improvement projects. State funding for these five projects will be matched by over $2.4 million in private funds.

“These awards will help support economic development and job growth throughout Massachusetts by providing businesses better access to rail and freight infrastructure and connecting them with customers and opportunities throughout the region,” said Governor Baker. “We are pleased to partner with these companies to leverage public and private funds to continue strengthening our transportation system through the development of rail infrastructure projects.”

“We are proud to continue collaborating with employers to advance local development and transportation priorities and support rail and freight projects throughout Massachusetts,” said Lieutenant Governor Polito.

“Investing in rail and freight infrastructure helps lower the number of trucks on our roadways which reduces congestion and greenhouse gas emissions,” said Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack. “The IRAP program is a unique opportunity to improve our transportation infrastructure while enabling job creation and economic growth, and we look forward to seeing these important projects carried out.”

IRAP provides grants to railroads, rail shippers and municipalities that identify a public benefit gained through improved rail transportation usage or economic growth that would be realized through improved access to rail assets.

The schedule for these five projects, along with previously approved projects, will provide a spending program consistent with the Capital Improvement Plan’s FY19 budgeted costs for the IRAP Program. Other awards from this program may be made later in the year.

Applications for the program were received from a diversity of freight rail-supported businesses all over the state. Projects are approved based upon consistency with program requirements and the level of public benefits they offered such as system preservation, mobility, economic development, and safety.

The initial 2018 recipients are as follows:

Western Recycling Rail Spur Project – Wilbraham: $500,000

The project will allow an existing solid waste handling facility in Wilbraham to load outbound waste into railcars for shipment to out-of-state landfills. With the restoration of rail service to the site, the facility will start processing municipal waste in addition to construction and demolition debris. The project includes the construction of one loading track and five storage tracks for a total of 6,000 feet of new track. With completion of the project, the facility will be served by over 1,500 rail cars each year, eliminate 7,500 regional truck trips each year and support the creation of eight to ten additional jobs at the facility.

 

Middlesex Corporation Concrete Plant Siding Restoration – Littleton: $500,000

This project will allow the Middlesex Corporation’s concrete batching plant in Littleton to receive sand and stone by rail instead of truck. This will eliminate approximately 12,800 truck trips from area roadways. The IRAP project will include the construction of 2,385 feet of new track and two new rail switches on the project site. The restoration of the siding to the property will allow for the estimated delivery of 1,600 railcars annually.

 

Patriot Beverage/Injection Molding Enterprise Siding Extension Project – Littleton: $500,000

This project will support the restoration of a bottling facility (formerly Very Fine) and improve operations at a co-located manufacturing facility. The project, which entails the restoration and extension of an existing rail siding, will be used for the delivery of inbound raw materials in support of manufacturing plastic containers and consumer beverages. Completion of the project will allow for the projected delivery of 330 railcars each year, which leads to a reduction of about 2,500 regional truck trips. In addition, the project will support the restoration of the bottling facility, which will employ 50 employees once fully operational, and the continued expansion of the plastic container manufacturing facility.

 

Rousselot Gelatin Rail Extension Project – Peabody: $221,640

This project will improve rail operations at the gelatin manufacturing facility leading an increased volume of rail deliveries and the associated reduction in product delivered by truck. The project will allow more product to be stored on site, minimizing the risk of plant shutdown during storm events (and associated job/wage impact), and a reduction of train movements through busy Peabody Square.

 

Grafton and Upton Railroad Bulk Liquid Transloading Railyard Expansion Project – Upton: $133,045

This project will support increases in rail volumes to the transloading rail facility in Upton.  The project includes the construction of two new tracks that will allow for the delivery and storage of paraffin wax to the Grafton and Upton Railroad. The project, which is located on the site of the existing facility, is anticipated to increase annual rail volumes by 250 railcars and reduce the regional growth of truck traffic by eliminating approximately 1,500 truck trips.

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