Minnesota allocates almost $10 million to improve freight rail services

Minnesota allocates almost $10 million to improve freight rail services
© Seven Rivers Intermodal Terminals, LLC

The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) recently announced the selection of eleven projects aimed at improving freight rail services across the state.

These projects, totaling $9.6 million in investments, were selected to support local economic activities and improve rail infrastructure. This funding comes from the Minnesota Rail Service Improvement Program and was approved during the 2023 legislative special session.

© Meadowland Farmers Coop
© Meadowland Farmers Coop

The projects were chosen based on their potential to improve the state's freight rail network. Here are some of the key projects and their goals:

  • Progressive Rail, Incorporated (Lakeville): Receives $468,137 to renew and improve eight bridge structures on its 97-mile rail system.
  • Northern Country Co-op (Lansing): Awarded $1.9 million to develop a unit train loading facility and install storage bins for products awaiting rail transport.
  • Meadowlands Farmers Co-op (Echo): Will use $1.1 million to construct 2,150 feet of new siding track to transport fertilizer for a new agronomy center.
  • Seven Rivers Intermodal Terminal LLC (Winona): Gets $511,446 to add 2,440 feet of track and two switches within an existing terminal to increase capacity and inbound shipments.
  • American Crystal Sugar Company (Crookston): Awarded $960,000 to expand a packaging warehouse to increase the ability to load railcars.
  • Louisiana-Pacific Corporation (Watkins): Receives $1.5 million for new railcar offloading stations with outdoor bulk storage and material handling upgrades.
  • DeRock Capital Group, LLC (Hector): Gets $246,000 to add a switch and 350 feet of rail, update loading docks, and improve transloading capabilities.
  • City of Little Falls (Little Falls): Awarded $613,600 to update an existing railroad crossing signal, install ADA-compliant crosswalks, and close a road crossing for improved safety.
  • Sanimax USA, LLC (South St. Paul): Receives $400,000 to upgrade the rail loading system for direct material loading and connect truck and rail loadouts.
  • Minnesota Northern Railroad Company (Crookston): Awarded $1.56 million to develop land for an industrial park, including track installation and site preparation.
  • Twin Cities & Western Railroad Company (near Cologne): Receives $328,424 to extend a stub track over a new parcel, enhancing access and track capacity for a large transload operation. 
© Crystal Sugar 
© Crystal Sugar 

This round of funding was highly competitive, with MnDOT receiving 19 applications requesting a total of $22.5 million. The Minnesota Rail Service Improvement Program has been active since 1976, supporting various projects aimed at improving the state's rail system. This cycle's funded projects demonstrate a focused effort to update and expand Minnesota's freight rail capabilities across various regions.

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