Recap of RCP&E Railroad appearance before the SD State Railroad Board

PIERRE, S.D.(KCCR)- The Rapid City Pierre and Eastern Railroad was back in front of the South Dakota State Railroad Board this week to update the status of a proposed project to rebuilding the rail line that runs from Fort Pierre to Rapid City.  Senior vice president Jerry Vest says RCP&E has applied for a highly competitive RAISE grant to help fund the 84-million dollar project.

Vest says if the RAISE grant falls through it leaves about a month to apply for a CRISI grant.  The grants take different forms so converting the RAISE application to a CRISI application will take time.  The other question mark for the application is rail cost.

Vest says if the R-C-P & E fails in getting a federal grant this year, next year may offer a better chance.

Vest says much of that rail money will be centered on passenger rail, but believes the South Dakota project has a good chance at winning support.  The South Dakota Legislature approved up to 20-million dollars in match money for the project in January.

A major rebuilding of the Fort Pierre to Rapid City subdivision of the Rapid City, Pierre and Eastern main line in central and western South Dakota isn’t the only project on the line company officials are seeking.  Senior vice president of the RCP&E Jerry Vest says they railroad is seeking an 800-thousand dollar STC grant for an estimated one-million dollar project.

The survey identified seven high-priority culverts and one trestle that need replacement.

One culvert failure caused a 17-car derailment near New Underwood that injured the train’s crew.  Vest says the project will help prepare the railroad for the future.

The railroad is also applying for a hyper-competitive RAISE grant to help upgrade 88 miles of line at a cost of 84-million dollars between Fort Pierre and Rapid City.  Vest says the two projects are independent of one another, but would be hopeful both could be done at the same time.