MassDOT Announces IRAP Grants
The Baker-Polito Administration’s Department of Transportation (MassDOT) today announced the awarding of nine grants totaling more than $2.7 million from the Industrial Rail Access Program (IRAP) to enhance 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. Applicants must match public funds with private funds, with private funds paying at least 40% of a project’s total cost, and several of today’s awardees will match more than the required minimum.
“This funding will help the state-wide rail and freight industry build and repair infrastructure,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “These public-private partnerships will help expand and increase efficiency of operations, providing long-lasting benefits for local economies and the state as a whole.”
“As we collaborate with employers to support these freight and rail projects, we are improving the Commonwealth’s transportation system and enhancing local development and job growth,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “The Administration is pleased to be a partner on projects which will help businesses succeed and compete in today’s world.”
“IRAP program grant money supports the business goals for rail and freight companies, creates jobs and leads to more efficient operations,” said Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack. “It’s important to note that investing in rail and freight infrastructure helps reduce truck traffic on our roadways, thereby reducing congestion and greenhouse gas emissions.”
Applications for the IRAP program were received from freight rail-supported businesses across the Commonwealth. Projects were 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 2019 recipients include the following:
Mass Central Railroad ($30,000):
The project will purchase 2 boxcars that will be used to shuttle paper between a warehouse in South Barre and Kanzaki Specialty Paper in Ware, reducing truck trips and helping to retain manufacturing jobs. Mass Central is providing 40% of the project cost.
Shoreline Resources LLC ($500,000):
The project will help provide rail access to a new shipyard site that will build and repair commercial vessels, including fishing vessels and potentially service vessels for the offshore wind industry in New Bedford. This will eliminate 280 truck trips and help sustain jobs. Shoreline is providing 58.5% of the project cost.
Broco Oil Inc. ($500,000)
The project will help Broco Oil bring bio-diesel fuel oil into the state by creating a new siding and transload capacity in Haverhill. The result is expected to be 367 more railcars and 2,850 fewer truck trips annually. Broco is providing 40% of the project cost.
PanAm Southern LLC ($111,900)
The project will increase efficiency in the system by which PanAm Southern (a partnership between PanAm Railways and Norfolk Southern Railroad) handles finished paper and recycled paper moving between mills in Maine and the Port of Boston. The project will mean that 1,500 rail cars per year can be handled more efficiently and reliably. PanAM Southern is providing a 40% match.
MHF Services ($148,500)
The project will provide additional capacity in the Worcester yard and the facility owned by MHF Services so that more bulk cargo can be handled efficiently by rail. The project is expected to allow 200 more rail cars to be handled annually, eliminating 900 truck trips each year. MHF is providing a 40% match.
WT Terminal LLC ($500,000)
The project will allow a liquid asphalt facility in Deerfield to continue to grow by creating a new spur and increasing terminal capacity by 25%. WT expects an additional 300 railcars annually with the new spur, thereby reducing truck traffic. WT is providing 58% of the project cost.
Pioneer Valley Railroad ($176,322)
The project will build a siding in Westfield that will increase facility capacity by 25% to meet the demands of customers served by the Easthampton Branch. The facility will handle an estimated 400 additional rail cars annually. The railroad is providing a 40% match.
JSB Industries ($270,000)
The project in Lawrence will build a rail spur at the Muffin Plant. The facility will handle an estimated 150 additional rail cars annually, reducing truck traffic and supporting the employment of an additional 10 people.
United Material Management ($500,000)
The project will build loading equipment at a new facility in Leominster. The equipment will allow loading of municipal solid waste to be transported by rail, generating an additional 1,560 rail cars and removing 6,240 long-distance truck trips annually.
Written By: Klark Jessen, Source: MassDOT Blog