Area Rail Projects Attract $2.1 Million in PA Funding
HARRISBURG PA – Railroad infrastructure improvement projects in Berks and Chester counties that will directly benefit Boyertown and, indirectly, the Upper Perkiomen Valley, were awarded a combined total of $2.1 million in state funding Wednesday (Dec. 15, 2021), Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf announced. They are among 25 rail freight mobility projects intended to create or sustain more than 200 jobs, he said.
The state Transportation Commission voted to approve state-share payments under the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Rail Freight Assistance Program in the amounts of:
- $1.4 million to replace about 1,600 feet of track, and construct a half-mile siding to the Boyertown Foundry, 320 Spring St. The work includes rehabilitation of the 4th Avenue bridge. The money will be received and supervised by the Redevelopment Authority of Berks County; and
- $700,000 to rehabilitate the Octoraro Branch of the East Penn Railroad in Chester County. It involves replacing about 7,000 ties, 1,100 feet of rail, and three mainline switches, as well as 10 miles of surfacing there. East Penn, a part of Regional Rail LLC, owns trackage rights and operates interchange stations and transload locations in nine southeast Pennsylvania areas, including its Perkiomen short-line that runs between Pennsburg and Emmaus.
Pennsylvania has 65 operating railroads, reportedly more than any other state. “Keeping goods moving efficiently has proven to be more important now than ever,” Wolf said, alluding to current supply chain issues nationwide. “These investments in Pennsylvania’s rail system create jobs, support efficient freight travel, and help keep the business community connected to the global economy.”
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