S.D. rail operators waiting on federal STC grants

Capitol News Bureau
KELO Train Railway

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The Federal Railroad Administration hasn’t yet issued an official notice of funding opportunity for an annual grant program on which a half-dozen rail operators and facilities in South Dakota are waiting, the state secretary of transportation said Wednesday.

Joel Jundt advised the South Dakota Railroad Board to hold off and see whether any requirements for the federal Special Transportation Circumstances grants program have changed before deciding which projects to recommend for federal grants. He said there could be approximately $6.9 million available for South Dakota work.

“We’re surprised it hasn’t been already announced and out,” Jundt said. He asked the FRA for a date when the notice will be published but hadn’t yet heard back.

The board intended Wednesday to select projects to forward for consideration from more than $11 million in requests.

“For the people who’ve come today, we’re not delaying this because we want to,” chairman Jerry Cope of Rapid City told the audience.

Current grant requests are:

  • Belle Fourche Development Corporation, industrial rail park expansion, $1,368,128.20 (80% of project).
  • Ellis & Eastern Railroad, siding to reach new Encore Rail Park at Brandon, $2,416,060 (80% of project).
  • Twin Cities & Western / Sisseton Milbank Railroad, replace four miles of old line west of Wilmot, $1,729,443.78 (80% of project).
  • Ringneck & Western Railroad, add a shop track and two transload tracks east of Plankinton, $1,799,009.03 (60% of project).
  • D&I Railroad, replacement of 5.8 miles of track in South Dakota in Hudson area, $3,198,016 (80% of project).
  • Rapid City, Pierre & Eastern Railroad, installation of eight culverts along Bad River between Fort Pierre and Philip and Boxelder Creek near New Underwood, $800,000 (80% of project cost).

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