PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The wheels are turning on legislation that would provide $6.25 million from state government’s general fund to a railroad rebuild in northeastern South Dakota.
The Senate Transportation Committee on Wednesday unanimously endorsed the concept of helping Sisseton-Milbank Railroad Company and forwarded SB-16 to the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Appropriations that oversees state government’s budget.
The money would match a federal grant request of nearly $25 million. Company president Mark Wagner said the upgrade would allow trains to run at speeds up to 25 mph. The line currently is rated at 10 mph.
The Sisseton elevator plans to add a 110-car loading facility and the Sisseton Wahpeton Sioux Tribe would start bringing in propane if the project moves forward, according to Wagner.
The state-funding request has the governor’s support. State Transportation Secretary Joel Jundt spoke in favor. No one testified against it.
“Well, look-it-there — congratulations!” the committee’s chair, Republican Sen. Joshua Klumb, told Wagner.
The Legislature approved $20 million two years ago to help repair parts of the rail line between Fort Pierre and Rapid City.
Republican Sen. Randy Deibert called for the committee to endorse the Sisseton-Milbank funding. “I see this as an investment as much as an expenditure,” Deibert said.