$2.5M grant to restore rail line connecting Oregon, Madison | Business
A long-inactive 10-mile rail line between Fitchburg and Oregon will be restored using about $2.5 million in state grants, state officials said Friday morning.
The Wisconsin and Southern Railroad received funding from the state Department of Transportation to return service to the railroad corridor between McCoy Road and West Netherwood Road, which the DOT said hasn't be operating since the 1990s. Gov. Scott Walker approved the funding for the rail projects Friday, the DOT said.
Interest in the project stemmed from a concrete company's new facility under construction in Oregon. Janesville-based Lycon Inc. is building a production facility in Alpine Business Park.
The funding for the restoration comes from the state's Freight Railroad Preservation Program, which is providing about $2.3 million, and the Railroad Infrastructure Improvement Program, which offered a $286,673 grant.
The line is owned by the city of Fitchburg and the village of Oregon. Sen. Tim Cullen said Friday that restoring the line between Oregon and Madison makes a line connecting Evansville to Oregon viable.
"Without the Oregon to Madison line, there was not much interest in rail service north from Evansville," Cullen said in a written statement Friday.
Projects in Baraboo, Milton and Janesville also received part of the nearly $11 million the DOT is distributing through its freight railroad assistance programs. Transportation officials said the grants are meant to increase the use of rail transportation, support economic development and create jobs.