Governor Daugaard Signs Bill to Provide Funding for Railroad Rehabilitation

on Wed Apr 02 2014, 10:42PM | by Kim


Governor Daugaard has signed HB 1041 which appropriates $7.2 million to the Railroad Trust Fund.
The bill originally appropriated $1.2 million to be used for rehabilitation of the railroad bridge at Chamberlain on the state-owned line. It was then amended to add an additional $6 million with the intent to rehabilitate the line further west.

The SD Wheat Growers testified that they would build a $40 million shuttle loader facility and agronomy center if the railroad is rehabilitated at least as far as Lyman.
As a result of the appropriation, the SD Railroad Board has committed $14 million towards application for a Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant in the amount of about $28 million. This amount would allow for the rehabilitation of the railroad all the way to Presho.

The last TIGER grant application was unsuccessful, however, the new appropriation will enable the State to exceed a 50% local match which will improve the chance of obtaining the grant this time.
This is a remarkable opportunity for South Dakota,” said Steve Halverson, President of the Rails to the Future, “We commend Governor Daugaard for his vision and leadership in regard to supporting railroad infrastructure in South Dakota.”

In order to increase the State’s chance of obtaining the new TIGER grant, we need businesses, farmers and other interested parties to send letters of support to the SD DOT by April 15 so they can be included in the grant application,” said Halverson, “The letters should explain the economic development opportunities and benefit that the railroad rehabilitation would create.”

In addition to sending letters of support, it would be even more helpful, if the letter included a pledge of financial support,” said Halverson. “The pledge would only need to be paid if the grant application is successful and the railroad is built.”

Rails to the Future is a grassroots organization that is helping raise money for the railroad rehabilitation. “We have had numerous farmers throughout the region pledge thousands of dollars to this project,” said Halverson. “At our last meeting in Presho, we even had a women who has farmed for 60 years make a $10,000 pledge.”

Letters should be mailed to Bruce Lindholm, Program Manager, South Dakota Department of Transportation, Becker-Hansen Building, 700 E. Broadway Ave., Pierre, SD 57501

Rail authority rehab loan OK'd

on Wed Apr 02 2014, 09:38AM | by Kim

Earlier this month, the Mitchell Rapid City Railroad Authority Board committed to a $3.5 million loan from the state rail board to improve the railroad from Chamberlain to Presho. That commitment was finalized Monday when the rail authority board voted unanimously to approve the loan during a special meeting held via conference call.

Railroad refurbishing project rolls forward

on Fri Mar 21 2014, 01:59PM | by Kim

Railroad refurbishing project rolls forward

from Mitchell Daily Republic

SD State Rail Board approves $3.5 million in grants and $3.5 million in loans for the line west of Chamberlain.

on Wed Mar 19 2014, 02:51PM | by Kim

The SD State Rail Board approves $3.5 million in grants and $3.5 million in loans for the line west of Chamberlain.  That raises the total amount for rehab to $14.2 million. Additional funding will be sought through the TIGER grant program.

Friday Update

on Thu Mar 13 2014, 11:15PM | by Kim


We have some great news to pass on to our membership.  We had two bills floating in the legislature this week.  Our original bill S.B. 137, and also H.B. 1041. H.B. 1041 was Gov. Daugaard’s bill asking for $1.2 million to repair the bridge at Chamberlain. 

Last week the Senate Appropriations Committee amended this bill by adding our $6 million to make the bill request $7.2 million. Tuesday this bill was passed on the Senate floor by a vote of 34 yes and 1 no.  Yesterday this bill was before the house and they voted 65 yes and 4 no.  

Huge accomplishment to get this approved by such a large margin in both houses!Our next action is to wait for the governor’s decision to sign or veto the bill.  We feel good about our position at this point and will continue to keep you informed as we move forward.

Today we met with the S.D. Department of Transportation.  The plan is to try to leverage this appropriated money and apply for the next federal TIGER grant.  This would provide more matching funds than previous applications and hopefully would make it more likely to succeed. 

If this grant is successful, we would be able to run heavy rail from Chamberlain to at least Presho.  The applications are due in late April and it would likely be this fall before we know the results.We want to thank everyone for your support!  This was a great team effort and without all of you it would not have been possible.  Feel free to contact us if you have any further questions.

Rails to the Future

Bill Ferguson, 30394 266th St, Witten SD 57584-6810 840-9015
Steve Halverson, 118 Terri Lane, Pierre SD 57501-5221 222-0270
Bryan Jorgensen, 31250 265th St, Ideal SD 57541-9230 840-9005

Rails to the Future has $7.2 million legislative approval.

on Wed Mar 12 2014, 03:24PM | by Kim

The House has concurred with Senate on allocating $7.2 million for the Rails to the Future.  The Governor still has an opportunity to veto.

SB 137 Tabled in the House

on Wed Mar 12 2014, 08:45AM | by Kim

In response to the passed HB1041, the full Senate tabled SB137.

03/11/2014House of Representatives Tabled, Passed, YEAS 66, NAYS 3. H.J. 729Audio Available4:14:41

HB 1041 passes Senate

on Tue Mar 11 2014, 06:29PM | by Kim

HB 1041 passes the Senate with a vote of 34 in favor and 1 against. 

The bill appropriates seven million two hundred thousand dollars ($7,200,000), or so much thereof as may be necessary, to the railroad trust fund created by § 49-16C-1 for the purposes of planning, enlarging, maintaining, equipping, and protecting railroads and railroad facilities.

The House appropriated one million two hundred thousand dollars ($1,200,000), or so much thereof as may be necessary, to the railroad trust fund created by § 49-16C-1 for the purposes of planning, enlarging, maintaining, equipping, and protecting railroads and railroad facilities, so the Bill will go to a conference committee to iron out the details.

SB 137 passes the House Appropriations Committee

on Thu Mar 06 2014, 11:46AM | by Kim

SB 137 as amended is passed unanimously by the House Appropriations Committee.
Audio when available.

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HB 1041 Bill to rehabilitate bridge of Missouri River Kim @ (Sat Mar 01 2014, 10:15AM) (Misc)