Governor Kelly and KDOT Announce Short Line Rail Improvement Projects


Governor Laura Kelly and Transportation Secretary Julie Lorenz announced this morning the recipients of the Kansas Department of Transportation’s new Short Line Rail Fund program. They were joined by Ron Seeber, president and CEO of the Kansas Grain and Feed Association and Bruce Carswell, senior vice president and COO of the Western Group, which owns the Cimarron Valley Railroad.

Thirteen projects were awarded grants totaling $5 million. Four projects were awarded to short line railroads and nine projects were awarded to shippers. The program is a partnership between the public and private sector, as applicants are required to provide 30% in matching funds. This year’s selected projects will improve and/or construct nearly 15 miles of track totaling a $7 million investment.

“This project, and the IKE program as a whole, exemplify the change in how this administration does business,” said Governor Laura Kelly. “The State of Kansas will benefit because of programs like IKE, which demonstrates how government can be dynamic, fiscally responsible, and implement cutting-edge strategies to produce results for our communities.”

Projects were selected based on the following criteria:

  • Long-term impact on rail operations, economic competitiveness, and safety;
  • Enhanced goods movement and logistical improvements;
  • Job creation and the ability to expand currently served markets; and
  • Enhanced efficiency of rail operations and the reliability of the impacted railroad.

The Short Line Rail Fund was created under Governor Kelly’s Eisenhower Legacy Transportation Program, commonly referred to as IKE. It provides $5 million annually for three years.

“KDOT recognizes the important role that rail plays in our state’s economy and the Short Line Rail Improvement Fund is another opportunity for us to partner with industry to help modernize and make needed improvements,” said Secretary Lorenz. “Across all of our funding programs, KDOT is partnering on rail projects worth over $102 million in 36 counties across Kansas.”

Short Line Rail Improvement Fund Awards

Applicant Project Description Amount
Cimarron Valley Railway Rail Replacement, Bridges – 286K $1,147,789
Frontier Ag Siding Extension $1,050,000
Frontier Ag Siding Extension $875,000
New Century Air Center Railroad Major Rehabilitation $256,163
Scott City Coop Siding Rehabilitation $36,047
Scott City Coop Siding Rehabilitation $35,304
Scoular Grain Siding Rehabilitation $97,242
Scoular Grain Preservation/Maintenance $71,306
Skyland Grain Siding Rehabilitation $93,800
Skyland Grain Siding Rehabilitation and Extension $220,851
Skyland Grain Siding Rehabilitation $24,500
South Kansas and Oklahoma Railroad Rail Replacement – 286K $417,591
V&S Railway Rail Yard Rehabilitation $674,407
Total $5,000,000
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 2021 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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