Railroad receives $7.5 million grant
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) today announced a $7.54 million federal transportation grant to support restoration of Grenada Railroad rail service between Grenada and Canton.
The U.S. Department of Transportation has approved the North Central Mississippi Regional Railroad Authority (NCMRRA) application for FASTLANE grant funding to undertake a series of improvements and repairs on the Grenada to Canton line, including repair of the Yalobusha River Bridge, which was damaged in a fire in July.
“This grant will help preserve the hard-fought effort to restore service in north-central Mississippi. Improving the Grenada Railway is an important part of an overall transportation system that supports economic growth,” Cochran said. “I commend the railroad authority for competing successfully for this funding.”
“Restoring this rail link through the heart of our state will result in a brighter economic future for the region,” Wicker said. “The project will combine public and private funds to improve freight movement, enhance safety for the general public, and protect and create jobs all along the corridor.”
The federal grant represents 50 percent of an overall NCMRRA project to rehabilitate approximately 90 miles of track of between Grenada and Canton. The project also entails repairing the Coldwater River Bridge near Coldwater, and repair work on several other bridges. The grant will also support reactivation of 18 active warning devices, and new tie installation sufficient to raise the entire 180-mile Grenada Railroad line to Federal Railroad Administration Class II standards.
Batesville alderman and rail aficionado Stan Harrison said that a Class II rail would allow 30 miles per hour trains speeds.
The project will also be supported with private-sector funding and the Mississippi Department of Transportation Railroad Revitalization Fund Loan Program.
Congress created the FASTLANE grant program with the 2015 enactment of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. The NCMRRA grant has been awarded under the FASTLANE 10 percent “small project” set-aside mandated by Congress to support regionally-significant freight and highway projects.
The NCMRRA was created in 2011 by representatives from the counties of Tate, Panola, Yalobusha, Grenada, Montgomery, Carroll, and Holmes counties with the objective of protecting long-term rail service in the region.
(An earlier posting of this story stated the train speeds for Class II rail incorrectly. It has been corrected above.)