S.D. rail panel divvies up federal aid

Capitol News Bureau
KELO Pierre map locator South Dakota

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The South Dakota Railroad Board committed $5,670,000 of federal funding to projects planned on several routes Wednesday.

They include two lines that state government owns. The third is a privately owned line.

The money comes from the federal STC program that compensates a few states such as South Dakota that don’t have passenger rail service.

The state railroad trust fund also would be tapped for $1,170,000 for the two state-owned projects.

The private project planned by Rapid City, Pierre & Eastern calls for installing new track on four miles through Midland.

The state board pledged $2,248,000 toward the $2.8 million project, provided that the company commits no later than May 29 to pay the remainder.

The RCP&E also received the board’s support to seek a $6 million federal grant from the competitive CRISI program to lay new track on 17 miles heading into Midland. The company agreed to provide the other $6 million for the project.

The projects on the two state-owned lines meanwhile would be funded through a combination of federal aid, money from the state railroad trust fund, and money from the private railroads that run on them.

The Dakota, Missouri Valley & Western operates the state-owned line from Aberdeen through Britton and wants to improve the trackbed. The company would put in $600,000, while the federal aid would be $1,870,000 and the state contributes $530,000.

‘It’s much appreciated and very much needed,” DMVW official Mark Trottier said. 

The board also committed to adding a meet-and-pass siding near Kimball on the state-owned MRC line that runs west from Mitchell. Dakota Southern operates on the line.

The project would receive $1,560,000 in federal aid and $640,000 from the state fund, provided that Dakota Southern commits to providing $300,000. The company originally offered to pay $200,000.

Other conditions on the MRC project call for state government to own the land where the siding would be; and for the siding to be used for trains to pass one another, rather than for train storage.

The board set aside two other projects that were proposed for the state-owned Napa line and the state-owned line that D&I operates in southeastern South Dakota.

The Napa proposal included a provision that the developer would buy the line. The state Department of Transportation is negotiating with D&I to sell the line it uses.

Go here for a current map of South Dakota railroads.

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