For Immediate Release - May 01, 2013

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR MURRAY HIGHLIGHTS FREIGHT RAIL INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS TO SPUR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN CENTRAL AND WESTERN MASSACHUSETTS

2012-2013 Industrial Rail Access Program (IRAP) Recipients Announced

WORCESTER – Wednesday, May 1, 2013 – Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray today joined Congressman Jim McGovern and local officials to highlight this year’s Industrial Rail Access Program (IRAP) recipients operating in Massachusetts in a visit to the Providence and Worcester Railroad Company (P&W), one of the grant recipients. In total, nine awards were announced including five from Central and Western Massachusetts. 

“As part of the Massachusetts State Rail Plan, we are focused on increasing access for freight rail service to support economic growth in Worcester and regions across the state,” said Lieutenant Governor Murray. “By investing in P&W and all of these projects, we are upgrading the Commonwealth’s freight rail network which will not only attract new business and jobs, but also promote a more efficient transportation of goods and services.”

“Our team has closely vetted the recipient proposals to assure conformity with local and regional transportation plans as well as economic development initiatives,” said MassDOT Secretary and CEO Richard Davey. “We will monitor closely the completion and success of these projects.”

The MassDOT Industrial Rail Access Program was created through the 2012 Transportation Bond Bill to provide grants to railroads, rail shippers and municipalities who identify a public benefit that will be gained through the improved use of the rail transportation network or that will facilitate economic growth through access to rail assets within the Commonwealth.

“Investing in transportation infrastructure is an important part of the Patrick-Murray Administration’s effort to create economic opportunity for everyone,” said Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Greg Bialecki. “By improving access to freight rail, we are creating opportunities to make it easier and more cost-effective for companies to do business throughout Massachusetts.”

“This major grant is a prime example of how public funding can be leveraged to benefit economic development in our region,” said Congressman McGovern. “Worcester has long played a pivotal geographic role for freight service. This grant will allow P&W to continue their outstanding work while keeping jobs in Worcester, and less efficient freight-trucks off the road.”

“The economic impact of smart rail growth has far reaching benefits for Worcester and the region,” said Worcester City Manager Michael O’Brien. “Improved freight access means more jobs for our City, new real estate opportunities, and future business development in the transportation sector. We are grateful to the State for investing in these infrastructure projects.”

The IRAP recipients reflect a wide range of projects, which meet the program objectives of improved use of the rail network while facilitating economic growth. The total amount awarded is $2.85 million; the matching funds listed are covered by each applicant. Recipients in Central and Western Massachusetts include: 

Providence & Worcester Railroad (P&W) in Worcester This project will replace two bridges with a new structure on the P&W Railroad in Worcester. The project is required to maintain rail service to Cargill, a Worcester-based customer of the P&W, as well as preserving access to Midstates Packaging, another Worcester-based customer, for transloading operations. Without the installation of the replacement bridge, P&W will neither be able to provide rail service to Cargill, which will need to use trucks or relocate their operation, nor will they be able to provide rail traffic to Midstates for transloading. The replacement bridge will also carry the road necessary for trucks to access the transloading tracks and to complete transloading.

IRAP Award:  $313,214     Match$208,809      Total Project Cost:  $522,023

Sherwood Lumber on the New England Central Railroad in Palmer Sherwood Lumber is in the business of wholesale distribution, third party transload and third party logistics operating out its facility in the Palmer Industrial Park on the New England Central Railroad. This project will construct a new rail siding which will increase the number of cars handled from three to 20 at the same time, as well as make loading dock and laydown area improvements. The project is expected to increase efficiency by 30 percent, reduce operating costs by 30 percent and potentially increase carloads by 100 percent.

IRAP Award:  $500,000     Match$1,175,000   Total Project Cost: $1,675,000

New England Central Railroad (NECR) Amherst This project will improve the main line tracks of the New England Central Railroad in Amherst. The project is located near Amherst's water supply and the railroad suffered two derailments in this area in 2011. The NECR is a shortline railroad, which runs north/south from the Vermont and Quebec border to New London, Conn. serving customers in Palmer, Belchertown, Monson and Millers Falls.

IRAP Award:  $500,000     Match$1,052,597    Total Project Cost: $1,552,597

Grafton & Upton     G&U Hopedale This project will expand and make improvements to Hopedale yard by constructing a switching lead and several sidings throughout the yard. The Hopedale yard, as operated by GU logistix, serves as a warehousing and distribution center for the building materials market. The current operations are constrained by the available space and trackage after only two months of operation.

IRAP Award:   $221,700    Match $330,300 Total Project Cost: $552,000

Fitchburg Redevelopment Authority    PAS    Fitchburg This project, which the Fitchburg Redevelopment Authority applied for, will rehabilitate and reconnect a rail siding into the Fitchburg Industrial Park. This siding will be used by Omnova, which needs the rail spur to remain competitive in their industry.

IRAP Award:  $309,900     Match$249,959       Total Project Cost:  $559,859

“I applaud the Patrick-Murray administration for continuing to make smart, targeted investments in Massachusetts that will ensure our economy continues to grow and provide us with the tools needed to remain competitive in the global economy,” said Senator Harriette Chandler.

“Improvements to the Commonwealth’s freight rail network will help to ensure our continued economic success,” said Senator Michael Moore. “These recipients should help to  attract businesses and jobs to Massachusetts.”

“By creating the Industrial Rail Access Program, the Legislature acknowledged the importance of industrial rail in promoting economic recovery and sustainability across the Commonwealth,” said Senator Richard Moore. “I was pleased to support the program then, and even more excited now for the potential it will bring to the towns of Southern Worcester County.”

“By modernizing and upgrading our existing rail access and connecting potential manufacturing, warehouse and commercial operations at the historic Draper Mill Complex will undoubtedly have a multiplier effect on the creation of regional jobs, will provide a competitive advantage in shipping raw material to local vendors and will aid our state’s efforts in revitalizing our manufacturing base,” said Representative John Fernandes. “This type of direct investment will pay significant regional dividends for decades to come.”

“In our 21st century economy, freight rail moves an enormous amount of goods across regions and states every single day,” said Representative John Mahoney. “Making strategic investments in the freight network is vital in order to unlock  the full economic potential of our Commonwealth. I am proud to stand with Lieutenant Governor Murray and Secretary Davey today as we make yet another investment to modernize our infrastructure in Massachusetts and keep our state competitive.”

Recipients in Eastern Massachusetts include:

Church Street LLC & Frade’s Disposal on the Mass Coastal in New Bedford Frade’s provides disposal services for commercial, industrial and construction paper shredding and recycling services to customers in southeastern Massachusetts. They seek to add a rail siding to better serve their transportation needs. This project will construct a 3,000-foot railroad siding, install a switch, construct a rail served loading dock and improve a private railroad crossing. The project has the potential to generate 800 carloads.

IRAP Award:  $427,500     Match$285,000      Total Project Cost:  $712,500         

Maritime Terminal on the Mass Coastal Railroad in New Bedford Maritime Terminal is a cold storage company in the Port of New Bedford. They receive over 100 refrigerated railcars per year at an offsite location and currently truck the contents to the warehouse for storage. This project will rehabilitate an existing rail spur and loading dock at their warehouse.  The project is crucial to properly serve this important rail market and to reduce the number of truck movements.

IRAP Award:  $65,889        Match$43,926         Total Project Cost:  $109,816      

Covanta SEMASS on the Mass Coastal Railroad in Rochester The Covanta SEMASS in Rochester is a waste-to-energy facility that processes approximately 1.1 million tons of municipal solid waste that is generated in eastern Massachusetts. This project will install a switch and approximately 400 feet of track into an existing truck load out bay on the SEMASS facilities tipping floor. The project will allow Covanta SEMASS to continue shipping 40 rail cars per year of Non-Ferrous metals as well as potentially 350 rail cars per year of other metals.

IRAP Award:  $167,040     Match $111,360      Total Project Cost:  $278,400     

MWRA FRRC Quincy – Braintree This project will replace a railroad bridge with a culvert on the Fore River Railroad in Braintree. The bridge originally served a cattle crossing below the railroad, which is no longer needed and is functionally obsolete. The Fore River Railroad is a 2.7 mile shortline in Quincy and Braintree that is wholly owned by the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA). The railroad serves freight customers in the Fore River Shipyard.

IRAP Award:   $342,000    Match $232,244       Total Project Cost: $574,244

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