A $7.5 million federal grant will help restore rail service through northern Mississippi, aided by a $4.3 million state loan and $3.2 million in private money.
The U.S. Department of Transportation announced Thursday that it's awarding the grant to rehabilitate 90 miles of what was once the Illinois Central mainline between Grenada and Canton. The money will also be used to repair a bridge over the Coldwater River in Tate County which is currently in service.
The entire 180-mile Grenada Railroad from Southaven to Canton is owned by the North Central Mississippi Regional Railroad Authority, which used state bond money to buy it from a Utah operator who wanted to pull up rails from Grenada to Canton and sell them for scrap.
Chicago-based rail operator Iowa Pacific now runs the line under a 15-year lease-purchase agreement. The $4.3 million loan agreement with Iowa Pacific has already been signed, and the railroad will kick in the remaining $3.2 million.
The grant also will pay to reactivate lights, bells or crossbars at 18 crossings and install new ties. The federal money is a competitive grant awarded from a program for small transportation projects under the 2015 federal transportation spending law.
Source: The Fresno Bee