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Upgrades to Natchez Railway could bring economic growth to Mississippi

JACKSON, Miss.- A $10 million dollar grant has been awarded to the city of Natchez to improve and give upgrades to bridges along the Natchez railway.
The U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded the city with the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant. This grant will allow for a significant upgrade to five structurally-deficient bridges along the Natchez railway from Natchez to Brookhaven.

Senators Thad Cochran, Roger Wicker, and Representative Gregg Harper all support the federal funding.

“Improved service along the railway would stimulate economic development at the Natchez-Adams County Port and Industrial Park, in neighboring Franklin and Lincoln Counties, and across Southwest Mississippi,” said Cochran, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “There is intense competition for TIGER grants, and I am very pleased that Natchez has successfully secured this funding.”

The repair work on the bridges would be a major step in potentially maximizing the productivity of the railway. It would allow for railcars to carry heavier loads and go at faster speeds when crossing bridges. Currently they are limited to only 10 mph over the bridges.

“South Mississippi will see substantial benefits from this TIGER grant,” Wicker said. “Increasing the productivity and safety along the Natchez railway promises to boost economic growth throughout the entire region. I am pleased that these grants are being used to address critical gaps in rail service in our state.”

The award is funded through FY2016 transportation appropriations, including $500 million overall for TIGER  discretionary grants or National Infrastructure Investments.

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