A major Janesville railroad upgrade project still in the planning phase that won’t roll out for another year or so continues to get boosts from the state government.
The state of Wisconsin recently added $3.3 million in grants and loans to the growing public financing of upgrades to half a mile of state rail lines that Wisconsin & Southern Railroad operates in downtown Janesville.
The package, which included a $2.2 million grant and a state-backed transportation loan of $1.1 million, adds on to $6.6 million in federal funding that the project garnered last fall through a state rail and harbors grant.
It would bring the total haul in funding for the project to within a few million dollars of the entire project’s $11.6 million price tag.
The funding will help state planners and the railroad with a project to upgrade the aging, single-track rail line that crosses the Rock River in the heart of Janesville at North Parker Drive, North Main Street, and North Franklin Street. The work will allow the lines to handle a 286,000-pound capacity—the industry standard weight limit on a public line.
Now, Janesville’s central rail line is rated at restricted a 263,000-pound limit because of its age and condition.
The work will make large-volume hauling of ethanol, grains, sand and other Wisconsin commodities more efficient and would ease congestion of trains, allowing improved public safety responses on major thoroughfares, officials said.