WASHINGTON  – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Tina Smith (D-MN) announced $4,824,563 in federal funding to help eliminate a railway crossing in Willmar by constructing an overpass. 

“Blocked rail crossings not only inconvenience drivers, but also delay emergency vehicles and threaten public safety,” said Klobuchar. “This federal funding will help boost efficiency and improve safety along the rail line. Investments in our infrastructure serve as a down payment on the long-term economic well-being of our state.”

“Investing in transportation infrastructure has ripple effects throughout our state, making the entire economy more productive and resilient,” said Smith. “These investments – from overpasses and bridges to highway improvements – will enhance safety and efficiency for our drivers and railroads.  Whether it’s helping kids get to school on time, shortening commutes, or making sure first responders can respond to an emergency, I’m proud of our work to help secure these investments through President Biden’s Infrastructure Law and will continue working to improve transportation systems across our state.”

The investment is made possible through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which both Klobuchar and Smith worked to pass. 

This funding will support the design and construction of an overpass over a BNSF rail line and includes reconstructing one mile of a rural two-lane highway. This project will eliminate an at-grade crossing, improve regional railroad operations, and also facilitate multimodal freight movement by constructing new rail access to the industrial park. 

Klobuchar and Smith are both cosponsors of the bipartisan Railway Safety Act. This legislation will make key updates to improve rail safety protocols, including increasing inspections on trains that carry hazardous materials, requiring rail carriers to have emergency response plans, and increasing penalties for rail companies when crashes happen. Last month, the bill passed the Senate Commerce Committee, of which Klobuchar is a member.