JEFFERSON CITY - A federal grant received by the Missouri Department of Transportation will help a regional railroad company recover losses from flood damage in 2008.
The Federal Railroad Administration awarded a $353,600 disaster assistance grant to MoDOT through its Railroad Rehabilitation and Repair Program. The funds will be used to reimburse the Missouri and Northern Arkansas Railroad for a portion of the costs it incurred to repair flood damage to its tracks in Jasper, Stone, Taney and Vernon counties in 2008.
Damages from excessive rain and high water caused the rail bed to wash out near Carthage in March and Joplin in May and damaged the Nevada maintenance facility in August. The bulk of the damage, however, came when severe storms hit on June 28, 2008, causing 13 separate washouts along the MNA rail line between Reed Springs and Branson in Stone and Taney counties. The MNA Railroad had to shut down for eight days to make emergency repairs and restore service after that storm. Additional flooding near Reed Springs occurred again in September.
"Smaller railroads play an important role in keeping Missouri's economy moving. Natural disasters can quickly disrupt service and have an immediate impact on the bottom line of the railroad and the businesses it serves," said Rod Massman, MoDOT's Administrator of Railroads. "We are glad to play a role in helping MNA recover a significant portion of the money they lost to restore service and keep southwest Missouri open for rail business."
Later, a large region including the counties where the damages occurred was declared a FEMA disaster area, making the project eligible for reimbursement. The MoDOT Railroad Section applied for the RRRP grant in February 2009.
Funds awarded under the Railroad Rehabilitation and Repair Program can cover up to 80 percent of the total cost of a selected project. Grants may be used to repair bridges, signals and other infrastructure that are part of the general rail transportation system and have been damaged in a natural disaster.