Transportation Secretary Lahood Announces $17 Million for Rail Line Relocation Projects

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Mar 022012

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced today that twelve cities and states will share $16.9 million to relocate, replace, and Railway Projectsimprove segments of railroad track under the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA)’s Rail Line Relocation and Improvement competitive grant program.

The FRA received more than $67 million in state and local government requests for these funds, which will be used to enhance safety, livability, and economic development in American communities.

Included in those dollars is money for one project in South Carolina put forth by the South Carolina Department of Commerce and South Carolina Public Railways, an S-Curve Realignment.  $248,934 has been allocated to relocate and realign an S-curve in North Charleston that has contributed to several derailments. The reduced curvature will also improve operating efficiency by alleviating restrictions on train speeds and enhancing line capacity.

For a list of all of the projects and their funding, see this announcement.

Grant Bid Fails For Carolina Southern Railroad

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Jan 022012

It’s a lifeline many businesses say they need to operate, but Carolina Southern Railroad says it can’t get its trains back on the track until major upgrades to the system are made. Officials had hoped to make those upgrades with money from a TIGER grant it had applied for in 2011, but recently found out it would not be getting that critical funding.

Carolina Southern RailroadMore than 848 applications were received for the grant, totaling more than $14 million. However, only $511 million was available to distribute to projects across the nation. Carolina Southern Railroad officials say in all, an estimated $20 million is needed to make necessary repairs and upgrades to the railroad and to get operations running again. Once that funding is secured, officials believe the railroad could start service just two weeks after repairs start.

“Everyone sees the need and the necessity to have this railroad running,” Jason Pippin, of Carolina Southern Railroad, said. “This is a railroad that goes way beyond that. It goes into all the other businesses we serve and really getting this infrastructure running.” The Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corporation says there have been businesses eyeing up Horry County for future growth who need a rail system to operate. They say not having the service in operation hurts Horry County’s chances to expand on new industry and court jobs to the area. An MBREDC subcommittee has been formed to help Carolina Southern Railroad address the problem.

“We talk to the state and we talk to federal entities,” Pippin added. “We can go together as a group and say this represents all of us.” Right now, officials with CSR say they’re continuing to pursue additional investors and federal grants to help draw in money to make the necessary upgrades. “It’s not just me looking for money to fix my railroad. We’re fixing a railroad for years to come for all these customers,” Pippin said.

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