DOT to help revitalize West Virginia rail line

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The U.S. Department of Transportation on Friday, Aug. 20, announced an agreement that will help fund West Virginia’s portion of the Appalachian Regional Short Line Rail project. The project, receiving a $1.77 million American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant, includes upgrades to crossties, highway-rail grade crossings and bridges.

“Short line railroads play an important role in our nation’s transportation system,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says. “Investing in this project will spur economic growth for the region and create jobs for the community”

Once completed, commodities like coal, aluminum, sand and chemicals will be diverted from truck to rail, reducing highway traffic, congestion and wear on roads. The use of rail, which DOT says is a more cost-effective and environmentally sound method for moving freight in this corridor, will help economic growth in the domestic and global markets.

The grant is part of the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program included in ARRA to promote innovative multimodal and multijurisdictional transportation projects that provide significant economic and environmental benefits to an entire metropolitan area, region or the nation. West Virginia is the first state participating in this project to sign its TIGER grant agreement with DOT.

West Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee together will receive $17.5 million in Recovery Act dollars to pay for the Appalachian Regional Short Line Rail Project that will pay for rehabilitation of hundreds of miles on five unconnected short line railroads in the three states. DOT announced the selection of $1.5 billion worth of TIGER grants for 51 projects as part of the one-year anniversary of the Recovery Act on Feb. 17.