BOSTON (WWLP) – The Industrial Rail Access Program (IRAP) awarded seven grants totaling over $3 million to enhance rail and freight access, economic opportunity, and job growth.

Announcing the latest IRAP grant recipients in New Bedford were Karyn Polito, Rail, and Transit Administrator Meridith Slesinger, Mayor John Mitchell, Representative Antonio Cabral, and local officials.

The Baker-Polito Administration is to provide financial assistance to eligible applicants to invest in rail infrastructure access improvement projects based on industry standards.

“These awards successfully leverage public funds to enhance additional private investment in the rail network and provide businesses with improved access to rail and freight infrastructure and make new connections with customers,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “We are pleased to partner with these companies and continue to strengthen our transportation system through the development of reliable rail infrastructure projects.” 

“The IRAP program has been extremely valuable in supporting the needs of rail and freight while creating jobs and enhancing economic growth,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “These partnerships will help expand and increase the efficiency of operations, providing long-lasting benefits for the entire Commonwealth.” 

“The program supports projects that increase access to freight rail service and preserve or stimulate economic development through the generation of new or expanded rail service,” said Transportation Secretary and CEO Jamey Tesler. “It’s important to note that investing in rail and freight infrastructure helps reduce truck traffic on our roadways, thereby reducing congestion and greenhouse gas emissions.” 

Across the Commonwealth, freight rail-supported businesses entered applications to the IRAP program. In addition to meeting program requirements, projects were approved according to their public benefits, such as preservation of the system, mobility, economic development, and safety.

The fiscal Year 2023 recipients, according to MassDOT

  • Old Boston Road Recycling ($500,000) 

The grant will support new track construction at a recycling facility in Wilbraham. The additional track will increase reliability and the volume of freight rail shipments,  eliminating 10,000 truck trips annually. 

  • Arrowhead Environmental Partners ($500,000)

The grant will support renovations to the company’s yard in Ayer, which will increase reliability and volume of freight rail shipments, eliminating 5,600 truck trips annually, and creating 4 jobs. 

  • Cavossa Disposal Corporation ($413,326) 

The grant will help modernize the Upper Cape Regional Transfer Station in Sandwich, which will increase the volume of freight rail shipments, eliminate 2,000 truck trips annually, and create 5 jobs. 

  • Lehigh Cement Company LLC ($500,000) 

The grant will help upgrade the rail car unloading systems in Palmer, which will increase volume of freight rail shipments and eliminate 925 truck trips annually. 

  • CSX ($499,000) 

The grant will support the Everett Coke Works Rehabilitation Project, which will aid the continued use of freight rail service to shippers in Everett and increase both the reliability and volume of freight rail shipments, eliminating 1,350 truck trips annually. 

  • Broco Energy ($334,289) 

The grant will support improvements to the 81 Hale Street Yard rail facilities in Haverhill, which will increase the volume of freight rail shipments and eliminate 3,200 truck trips annually. 

  • Ice Cube Maritime ($361,669) 

The grant will help support railway and unloading facility upgrades at a freight rail shipper in New Bedford, which will increase the volume of freight rail shipments, eliminate 400 truck trips annually, and create 5 new jobs.