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Iowa panel OKs 'LIFTS' funds for freight transportation improvements

The Iowa Transportation Commission earlier this month approved $2.6 million in grant funding for six transportation infrastructure projects under the Linking Iowa's Freight Transportation System (LIFTS) program.

LIFTS seeks to address gaps in multimodal funding to help bolster the state's freight transportation system, be that by train or other modes, commission officials said in a press release.

Although LIFTS is administered by the Iowa Department of Transportation Office of Rail Transportation, projects are not limited to rail infrastructure, they said. Also, LIFTS does not fund projects that can be funded under traditional highway programs.

Examples of projects that could benefit the freight system include:
• transload facilities where products are transferred between rail and truck;
• capacity improvements at barge terminal facilities;
• intermodal facilities;
• barge transload facilities where products can be transferred from barge to rail or truck;
• increase weight capacity to use heavier 286,000-pound rail cars;
• expand or reconfigure rail yards to increase capacity or reduce dwell time; and
• safety improvements to increase freight capacity.

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More News from 2/25/2016