PIERRE – South Dakota Department of Transportation’s grant requests for three rail projects have been approved to receive Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) grant awards.

That includes receiving up to $1.56 million for meet-and-pass siding near Kimball on the state-owned Mitchell-Rapid City rail line. The proposed Brule County freight rail capital project will construct a new, approximately 10,000-foot rail siding east of Highway 45 near the Gavilon grain elevator. The rail line is operated by Dakota Southern Railway and the siding increases capacity and decreases delays.

The siding will be located on property half of which is currently owned by the state. The other half of the project right-of-way will be acquired with funding outside of this grant. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the state of South Dakota will clarify how the acquisition will take place prior to grant obligation.

The awards come from the Special Transportation Circumstances (STC) Grant Program which is program under the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) Program. In all, South Dakota is set to receive $5.6 million for three rail capital projects.

Those include $1.87 million in improvements to the Dakota, Missouri Valley and Western Railroad between Britton and Aberdeen and $2.24 million in rail upgrades to the Rapid City Pierre and Eastern rail line between Fort Pierre and Rapid City, specifically replacing 100-year-old rail for four miles near Midland.

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The State Railroad Board approved grants requests applications on the following projects for use of the federal STC funds available to South Dakota.

“These special federal funds are dedicated to rail projects and give us important financial resources to improve the state’s railroad infrastructure which is vital to shippers, rail companies, and citizens,” SDDOT Secretary Darin Bergquist said in a statement.

Each grant is funding with a maximum federal amount not to exceed 80 percent of the total cost of a project. The required 20 percent non-Federal match amount is being paid by the respective private entity requesting grant funds.