The Grafton & Upton Railroad will receive a $221,700 grant as part of a state effort to increase access to freight rail service.
The grant was announced Wednesday as part of a $2.85 million round of Industrial Rail Access Program (IRAP) grants. Nine grants were announced by the state, including five to railroads in central and western
State Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Greg Bialecki said in a statement that infrastructure, like railways, is a key element of economic development.
"By improving access to freight rail, we are creating opportunities to make it easier and more cost-effective for companies to do business throughout
," he said. Massachusetts
Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray said in a statement that he hoped the improvements funded by the grants would both attract new customers to the state and increase efficiency.
Doug Pizzi, a spokesman for the railroad, said in an email the grant will be used to improve the Hopedale yard.
"The grant will be used to build a new switch and siding in the Hopedale yard, with the goal (of) being able to attract more business and, with it, more jobs to the yard," he said. "The new switch and sidings will allow more train traffic in and out of the yard, hence more transloading operations from train to truck, and vice-versa."
The Hopedale yard, according to a state release, is used to warehouse and distribute building materials.
Pizzi said, as the grant was just announced, he was unsure when the project would begin.
The state grant is a matching grant, requiring a match of $330,300 from the railroad itself. The total cost of the improvements is expected to be $552,000.