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MassDOT Announces $1.8 Million in Awards to Expand Industrial Rail and Freight

BOSTON — The state Department of Transportation recently awarded five grants totaling more than $1.8 million as part of the Industrial Rail Access Program (IRAP), which helps increase rail and freight access, economic opportunity, and job growth.

IRAP is a competitive, state-funded, public/private partnership program that provides financial assistance to eligible applicants to invest in improvement projects in rail infrastructure access. State funding for these five projects will be matched by more than $2.4 million in private funds.

“These awards will help support economic development and job growth throughout Massachusetts by providing businesses better access to rail and freight infrastructure and connecting them with customers and opportunities throughout the region,” Baker said. “We are pleased to partner with these companies to leverage public and private funds to continue strengthening our transportation system through the development of rail infrastructure projects.”

Locally, $500,000 was awarded to the Western Recycling rail-spur project in Wilbraham. The project will allow an existing solid-waste-handling facility to load outbound waste into rail cars for shipment to out-of-state landfills. With the restoration of rail service to the site, the facility will start processing municipal waste, in addition to construction and demolition debris.

The project includes the construction of one loading track and five storage tracks for a total of 6,000 feet of new track. With completion of the project, the facility will be served by more than 1,500 rail cars each year, eliminating 7,500 regional truck trips each year and supporting the creation of eight to 10 additional jobs at the facility.

IRAP provides grants to railroads, rail shippers, and municipalities that identify a public benefit gained through improved rail transportation usage or economic growth that would be realized through improved access to rail assets. The other four grants went to projects in Littleton, Peabody, and Upton.

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