AR: Columbia County qualifies for up to $3M in railroad upgrades


ARKANSAS (KNWA/KFTA) — Columbia County, Arkansas could get up to $3.4 million in railroad upgrades, according to the U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.

Columbia County, AR.

The Louisiana and Northwest Railroad‘s (LNW) McNeil Subdivision is a 68-mile, freight short line and headquartered in Homer, Louisiana.

The track upgrades and additional sidings are for the improvement of 25 miles of mainline track, according to the report. The project is for approximately 9.5 miles of jointed rails along with 7,800 ties, surfacing approximately 17 miles of track and building three additional sidings. Once completed, the mainline improvements mean the system will be able to handle 286,000-pound tank cars.

The total package for all states is $320.6 million for rail infrastructure and safety improvements.

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has 50 projects in 29 states that have received grant funding for the fiscal year 2020.

“This $320.6 million federal investment will upgrade U.S. rail infrastructure and enhance rail safety in communities across America,” said Chao.

Of the 50 projects that were awarded grants, 32 are located in what’s called “Opportunity Zones” — Columbia County falls in that zone.

These zones were created to help revitalize “economically distressed communities using private investments,” according to the release.

Through the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) Program, for rail infrastructure improvement, more than $1.2 billion has been awarded since 2017.

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