Senator Young Announces State Funding for Rail Upgrades in Livingston County

Catharine Young

October 07, 2013

For Release: Immediate, September 30, 2013

Rail lines to receive $3,877,662 of grant funding for track rehabilitation and improvements

ALBANY – Senator Catharine Young (R,C,I-Olean) has announced that track rehabilitation and upgrade projects in Livingston County have received substantial grant funding from the New York State Passenger and Freight Rail Assistance Program totaling over $3.8 million.

A grant of $3,719,908 for Rochester and Southern Railroad, Inc. will provide for the rehabilitation of rail lines stretching from Caledonia to Dansville, allowing for faster track speeds and greater utilization.

The Livonia, Avon, and Lakeville Railroad Corporation also receives $157,754 for repairs and upgrades to Brighton Bridge over the Genesee River.

“Upgrading and improving our railroads will lay the groundwork for future economic growth and job creation. The track was in dire need of repair and threatened jobs and job growth at area employers. Repairing the track saves jobs and would allow companies to expand. The limited development and capacity of our rail lines has prevented companies from expanding their manufacturing and trade activities in our region. With these upgrades, rail lines will be able to handle the increased traffic and loads,” Senator Young said.

“The rail line between Mt. Morris and Dansville has been a priority infrastructure project for Livingston County. It is essential for the businesses located in the 4M Complex (former Foster Wheeler facility) who are rail dependent, serving both the energy and transportation industries and has been in dire need of improvements to the grade crossings and rail ties for many years. The County Economic Development Office and Planning Department worked tirelessly for more than a year to secure the funding,” said Julie Marshall, Executive Director of the Livingston County Industrial Development Agency.

“The efforts of Senator Young and Julie Marshall have helped solidify employment for many of the people at our Dansville facility and pave the way for future growth. Although these processes often take more time to develop than we would like to see, the support from them and the governor for our infrastructure is key to attracting customers that rely on services such as rail. The support of rail, not only in Dansville but the rest of the rail lines affected by this funding, will help all of Livingston County maintain its competitiveness in multiple markets. The effect of this funding and the improvements they will make possible are often unseen by those that don’t deal with it every day. I can tell you, for those of us that do, this offers tremendous opportunity!” said Larry Mehlenbacher, President of LMC Industrial Contractors, whose Avon and Dansville facilities are a major utilizer of the railroad.

“LMC is greatly appreciative of the hard work of Senator Young, Julie Marshall and her staff, and those at the Rochester and Southern Railroad for their continued support of our efforts here in Dansville. These improvements open the door to future opportunities, which have previously limited our ability to extend long term solutions to our customers. Several projects on the horizon are heavily rail dependant. This could not have come at a better time for our business,” said Rich Rizzieri, Vice President of LMC Industrial Contractors.

These grants are part of $20 million of grant funding announced last week by Governor Andrew Cuomo for railroad projects across the state aimed at improving rail transportation infrastructure and supporting continued economic development.

Securing this grant funding was an important priority for Senator Young in this year’s State Budget and is the first dedicated freight rail funding in three years. Knowing that freight rail lines in her district have critical maintenance and upgrade projects pending, and freight rail funding has not received sufficient attention in recent State budgets, Senator Young fought to ensure freight rail projects were not overlooked in favor of passenger rail projects and other transportation initiatives.

“Our economy is continuing to move in the right direction and these improvements to the rail lines stretching throughout Livingston County will have a significant impact, ensuring that our transportation system is keeping up with the positive direction of our economy and businesses are able to move goods, expand markets, and extend their reach,” said Senator Young.