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May 7, 2024

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MnDOT selects 11 freight rail improvement projects to support local economic development

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Eleven freight rail projects will receive a total of $9.6 million in funding to improve freight rail service that supports economic development in different regions of the state, the Minnesota Department of Transportation announced today. The grants are provided through the Minnesota Rail Service Improvement program with funding approved during the 2023 legislative special session.
“Improving Minnesota’s rail service gives local businesses more opportunities to compete in our global and national economy,” said Kelly Christenson, MnDOT Freight and Rail Programs Supervisor. “The increased number of grant applications we received this year demonstrates the importance of improving the freight rail infrastructure across the state.”
The projects selected and funding amounts are:

  • Progressive Rail, Incorporated (Lakeville) – $468,137 to renew and improve eight bridge structures located on Progressive Rail's 97-mile system of Minnesota rail lines.
  • Northern Country Co-op (Lansing) – $1.9 million to develop a unit train loading facility and install storage bins to hold product until it can be loaded onto a train.
  • Meadowlands Farmers Co-op (Echo) – $1.1 million to construct 2,150 feet of new siding track to transport fertilizer by rail for a new agronomy center to be built adjacent to the siding.
  • Seven Rivers Intermodal Terminal LLC (Winona) – $511,446 to add 2,440 feet of track and two internal switches within an existing terminal to increase yard capacity and inbound shipments for distribution.
  • American Crystal Sugar Company (Crookston) – $960,000 to expand a packaging warehouse to cover the rail spur adjacent to the building, increasing the ability to access and load railcars.
  • Louisiana-Pacific Corporation (Watkins) – $1.5 million to install new railcar offloading stations with outdoor bulk storage and material handling upgrades.
  • DeRock Capital Group, LLC (Hector) – $246,000 to add a switch to the sidetrack, 350 feet of rail, ties, rail bed, and update two existing loading rail docks, and complete groundwork next to the rail spur to increase transloading capabilities.
  • City of Little Falls (Little Falls) – $613,600 to reconstruct and update an existing signal to an active warning railroad crossing, install ADA-compliant pedestrian crosswalks, and close an existing road crossing of the spur line to enhance safety and accessibility.
  • Sanimax USA, LLC (South St. Paul)$400,000 to enhance the rail loading system to enable the direct loading of materials into railcars and installation of a conveyance system linking the truck loadout to the rail loading area.
  • Minnesota Northern Railroad Company (Crookston) – $1.56 million to develop land for a new industrial park and innovation center, including installing 2,478 feet of track and site preparation for an initial spur, a turnout from the track to the site, bin storage, and a crossing to the spur.
  • Twin Cities & Western Railroad Company (near Cologne) – $328,424 to extend the stub track over a recently acquired parcel and create a full siding with connections to the TC&W mainline enabling greater access and track capacity to support a large transload operation.

MnDOT received 19 applications requesting a total of $22.5 million for this round of MRSI grant funding. The Minnesota Rail Service Improvement Program began in 1976.