BOSTON (WWLP) – The Massachusetts Department of Transportation announced on Wednesday, eight industrial freight grants totaling over $3 million as part of the 2017 Industrial Rail Access Program awards.
The awards program supports projects that improve or expand rail or freight access, economic opportunity and job growth.
“This unique program supports economic development and job growth across the Commonwealth by expanding and improving access to the rail infrastructure so important to the success of our employers,” Governor Charlie Baker said in a statement. “Freight rail shipping is a priority for the competitiveness of companies large and small, connecting their sites and products to the marketplace so they can thrive, grow and create additional job opportunities for our residents.”
“Taking trucks off the road helps the Commonwealth reduce congestion on our roadways and lower greenhouse gases,” Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito also said in a statement. “Partnering with these eight companies and communities through the Industrial Rail Access Program is a win for employment opportunities in Commonwealth, and for communities looking for economic development and congestion relief.”
This year’s recipients include Ware and Holyoke. Details for each award are below.
PanAm Southern Ayer Freight Hub Congestion Relief – Ayer: $500,000
This project will increase the capacity of the yard leading to additional rail volumes, and will improve service to the customers across the Pan Am system that are served by the 89,000 railcars that move through the yard each year. The project will also increase reliability and volume of rail shipments.
PanAm/CIP Saratoga Boulevard LLC Rail Connection to Warehouse – Devens: $431,760
This project will create a rail connection for a new 262,000 square foot paper-handling warehouse operation, as well as an adjoining warehouse space at Devens. The project is expected to increase rail shipments and facilitate the creation of new jobs and additional rail cars annually. 50 warehouse jobs will be created.
Mid-States Packaging Distribution Center Track Rehab –Auburn: $105,600
This project will result in the expansion of rail service to an existing rail customer leading to increased rail traffic, reduced truck traffic and additional rail-based jobs. The project will provide an increased volume of railcars. 16 jobs are expected to be created as a result of this IRAP project.
Tri-County Recycling Track Expansion – Ware: $123,720
This project will expand the capacity of a recycling center, leading to increased rail traffic, reduced truck traffic, doubled frequency and increased volume of rail cars and additional rail-based jobs. 3-4 new jobs will be created at Tri-County Recycling to meet the increased carloads handled with the rail new spur.
Pioneer Valley Railroad Knowledge Corridor Service Interchange – Holyoke: $495,000
This project will result in increased rail traffic and reduce associated truck traffic by improving the connectivity between two rail systems (Pan Am Railways and Pioneer Valley Railroad), therefore offering more efficient and improved service to their rail shippers. The project will also provide safety improvements and an increased volume of railcars.
PanAm/Springfield Terminal Railways Turnout Tracks – Lowell: $405,870
This project will rehabilitate two turnout tracks on the freight main line in Lowell, thereby decreasing train congestion, improving capacity for freight and passenger operations, and decreasing idling on the main line near residential neighborhoods.
PanAm Railways Yard Tracks 2-4 – Lawrence: $494,610
This project will provide environmental benefits due to deceased idling and reduce community impacts from rail operations. The project will also provide increased reliability of freight rail shipments and improve the Yard’s state of good repair.
United Materials Management Recycling Center Rail Facility – Holyoke: $500,000
The project will extend the existing rail spur into a new expanded state-of- the art recycling facility that will handle non-recyclable construction debris and recyclable municipal solid waste. UMM’s expanded facility will ship 650 railcars annually to end markets eliminating 2,000 truck trips and will facilitate 6-10 new hires.