Governor Kelly Announces Nearly $5 Million for Nine Short Line Rail Projects

TOPEKA – Governor Laura Kelly today announced nine short line rail maintenance and rehabilitation projects are being awarded nearly $5 million as part of the Kansas Department of Transportation’s Short Line Rail Improvement Fund (SLRIF) program.

“These nine rail improvement projects will strengthen Kansas’ agriculture supply chain, connecting our farmers and ranchers to regional, national, and international markets,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “My administration will continue to invest in needed and commonsense infrastructure improvements like these to maximize our state’s economic potential.”

Six SLRIF recipients will use the funds for major track rehabilitation and rail replacement; three projects were awarded funds for siding extensions and storage tracks. These projects support rail enhancements to expand carload capabilities, reduce truck traffic, increase operating speeds, and improve operating efficiencies.

State funding for the nine projects will be enhanced by a 30% match from each recipient, resulting in a total rail infrastructure investment of nearly $6.5 million.

The program received 19 applications requesting more than $18 million in program funds in this third and final round of funding for the program through IKE, the state’s 10-year bipartisan transportation program. SLRIF made available $5 million each for state fiscal years 2021, 2022, and 2023.

“The Short Line Rail Improvement Fund is another opportunity for KDOT to partner with industry to help modernize and make needed improvements,” Calvin Reed, Acting Secretary of Transportation, said. “Projects awarded through this program serve both short line railroads and their customers by investing in critical infrastructure that helps drive the Kansas economy.”

Selected projects through the SLRIF for State Fiscal Year 2023:

Project Sponsor
Project Type
Bestifor Farms in Republic County
Siding extension
Cargill – Salina, in Saline County
Storage tracks
Gavilon Grain in Sedgwick County
Major rehabilitation with rail relay
Garden City Western Railroad in Finney County
Major rehabilitation with rail relay
Hi-Plains Cooperative Association in Sheridan County
Major rehabilitation with siding
Kansas-Oklahoma Railroad – Wichita South Yard in Sedgwick County
Major rehabilitation
Scoular Grain – Pittsburg, in Crawford County
Siding extension
South Kansas & Oklahoma Railroad in Elk County
Rail replacement
V&S Railway in Barber and Harper counties
Major rehabilitation
Total Awarded:
Derek Nester
Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2020 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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