Governor Scott Walker on March 6 announced a $1.7 million Freight Railroad Infrastructure Improvement (FRIIP) loan for ProVision Partners Co-op to construct almost 6,300 feet of railroad spur tracks at their Auburndale, Wisconsin facility. The rail construction project is part of a $24 million expansion project to their existing grain elevator and fertilizer storage capacity. The project also will add feed mill facilities and a convenience store to this location.  This project is expected to result in approximately 30 new jobs.

ProVision Partners Co-op was formed as a combination of Central Wisconsin Cooperative based in Stratford and Harmony Cooperative from the Colby, Unity and Pittsville areas. The new facility will be served by Canadian National Railroad.

FRIIP is one of two freight railroad assistance programs designed to increase the use of rail transportation and support economic development and job creation. FRIIP is a revolving loan program used to improve rail infrastructure and construct new rail-served facilities.

In addition, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) distributes grants through the Freight Railroad Preservation Program (FRPP). FRPP grants cover up to 80 percent of project costs to help preserve freight rail service or rehabilitate track on publicly-owned rail lines.

Since 1994, WisDOT has provided more than more than $128 million in FRIIP loans and $225 million in FRPP grants to help fund 167 infrastructure acquisition, rehabilitation and improvement projects statewide.

Wisconsin’s rail system consists of 10 freight railroads which operate more than 3,300 miles of track in the state. Each year, more than 200 million tons of cargo is moved by rail in Wisconsin.