By: Bob Meyer
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation has signed an agreement to purchase 70 miles of rail line between Madison to Reedsburg and Madison to Cottage Grove. The lines include the bridge over Lake Wisconsin at Merrimac. The lines serve 23 customers including United Coop, Landmark Ag, Seneca Foods, R.R. Donnelly, Greede Foundries, and Hydrite Chemical.
The total cost of the purchase is $30 million with $5 million going toward track improvements and the other $25 million for land. The purchase is being made jointly with the Wisconsin River Rail Transit Commission (WRRTC) with funds from the Freight Rail Preservation Program.
Service on the line will continue to be provided by the Wisconsin & Southern Railroad (WSOR) under lease with the WRRTC.
The acquisition must now go to the Federal Surface Transportation Board (STB) for approval. The actual purchase of the corridor is expected to be complete by late 2014.
With this acquisition, there will be approximately 600 miles of state-owned track in Wisconsin. From 2007 to 2030, overall freight rail tonnage shipped in Wisconsin is forecast to grow 16 percent. Annually, Wisconsin’s railroads move 33 percent, or about 180 million tons, of Wisconsin’s total freight by weight.
© Copyright 2014 Brownfield, All rights Reserved. Written For: Brownfield