WASHINGTON– U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith, along with Representatives Collin Peterson, Tom Emmer, and Dean Phillips announced that the U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded a grant for $2,010,000 in infrastructure and safety improvements to the Twin Cities & Western Railroad Company in Bongards, Cologne, Jonathan, Norwood, and Plato Minnesota.
“Freight rail keeps our businesses and state economy moving forward and we must ensure the safety of communities along our rail lines,” Klobuchar said. “I supported the Twin Cities & Western Railroad Company’s application for this grant and believe that this investment will strengthen our rail infrastructure and enhance safety on our tracks for years to come.”
“By improving rail infrastructure in Minnesota, we’re driving economic development and improving the safety of our communities,” Smith said. “This is a substantial investment and signals to Minnesota communities that the federal government takes its responsibility to enhance the safety and economic competitiveness of our state seriously.”
“Improving rail infrastructure is vital for our Minnesota communities and businesses, who depend on railways to bring Minnesota ag products to the global market” said Peterson. “This is an investment in safety, our state’s economy and the future.”
“Rail is one of the primary arteries of Minnesota commerce.” Emmer said. “Whether it be in the Twin Cities, or Greater Minnesota - we rely on rail. This investment in the Twin Cities & Western Railroad Company will increase service, while also ensuring the safety of all those who live in communities along these vital transportation routes.”
“I am pleased to see more of our federal tax dollars returned to Minnesota – especially to enhance our rail infrastructure and safety,” said Phillips. “Combined with Twin Cities & Western Railroad Company’s matching investment, these improvements mean that our communities will be safer and our farmers and businesses will be better able to move their goods by freight rail well into the future.”
The DOT Railroad Safety Technology Grant Program provides grants to passenger and freight rail carriers, railroad suppliers, and state and local governments for projects that have a public benefit of improved railroad safety and efficiency.
Klobuchar has been a leader in the Senate to improve rail safety and service across the country. In 2015, Klobuchar’s provision to improve rail safety at blocked highway-rail crossings was signed into law as part of bipartisan long-term transportation legislation. Her provision would help improve safety at rail-highway crossings by ensuring that the U.S. Secretary of Transportation provides tools and best practices to states to mitigate the safety risks posed by blocked rail crossings. The bill also included Klobuchar’s provisions to help combat distracted driving, promote teen driver safety, and protect driver privacy. In 2018, Klobuchar and Smith sent a letter to the Federal Railroad Administration supporting Twin Cities & Western Railroad’s application through the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements Program.