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The New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) this week announced nine grants totaling $20 million for freight-rail improvements throughout the state.Available through the department's Rail Freight Assistance Program, the grants will fund improvements to the existing freight transportation system in order to make freight-rail service more widely available for New Jersey businesses, NJDOT officials said in a press release.The projects include upgrades and repairs to track and bridges, as well as expansion of existing lines to new customers.Factors considered in grant selection included economic benefits, efficient and responsive freight distribution, energy and environmental factors, and highway congestion mitigation. Sponsors, typically the railroad's owner, are required to continue freight service on the improved line for at least five years after the project's completion.The state has provided more than $85 million for rail projects through the Rail Freight Assistance Program, which is administered by the NJDOT's Bureau of Multimodal Grants and Programs."The projects funded here will help advance a transportation strategy that strives to increase mobility and efficiency in the movement of goods in support of the state’s economy," said NJDOT Commissioner Jamie Fox.
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