Local rail companies score millions in state money

Two regional short-line railroad companies are sharing pretty big slices of $27.1 million in state rail infrastructure improvement funds, which were announced this week by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Waterloo-based Finger Lakes Railway Corp. is getting $2.8 million, while Sodus-based Ontario Midland is receiving $2.9 million.

“New York’s rail and port infrastructure is critical to local economies across the state, and these grants will not only support existing commercial activities but help attract new business investments as well,” Cuomo said. “With these improvements, we can keep these economic engines running, and ensure safe and efficient travel for both passenger and freight customers statewide.”

Mike Smith, president of Finger Lakes Railway, said the money will be used to make rail yard improvements at its Waterloo/Geneva operation, as well as yards in Auburn and Solvay.

In Wayne County, Ontario Midland Vice President and General Manager Sandy Saracen said the money will be used to make track repairs on the north-south line that runs from Newark to the hamlet of Wallington in Sodus.

Smith said the funds, which must include a local match, will help handle the growing number of cars at each of its three locations

“Our problem is our footprints (at each location) are long and narrow,” he said. “We are limited by the amount of track we have.”

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