Governor Laura Kelly Secures $20 Million in Federal Grants to Improve Rail Infrastructure

Matches $29.5 Million in State and Private Investments

TOPEKA – Governor Laura Kelly announced today that nearly $50 million in federal, state, and private investments is going to two rail projects – the Southwest Kansas Infrastructure Upgrade Project and the KYLE Railroad Gateway Project – in northcentral and southwest Kansas. $20 million of that amount comes through the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements Grant Program, a federal grant program of the U.S. Department of Transportation. Governor Kelly directly advocated for both grant applications to the Federal Railroad Administration.

“I’m thankful we were able to secure these two federal grants to improve our rail network,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “By investing in this part of the supply chain, we are strengthening Kansas’ role as the nation’s logistics hub and making it easier for manufacturers and farmers to get their products to market.”

Funds going toward the Kyle Railroad Gateway Project will, among other things, replace 23.5 miles of obsolete track with upgraded continuous welded rail on the Kyle Railroad Company’s Concordia Subdivision between Beloit and Yuma Junction, Kansas. The project will increase the rail’s operating speed from 10 to 25 miles per hour, enable the line to support 286,000 lb. rail cars, and connect a critical area in northern Kansas to the national rail network.

Investments in the Southwest Kansas Infrastructure Upgrade Project will improve the Cimarron Valley Railroad in southwest Kansas from Dodge City to Hugoton, Kansas. They will enable the rail to support biodiesel operations and local agricultural product transports, raise the operating speed from 10 to 25 miles per hour, and increase the rail’s weight capacity.

“Partnerships – across federal, state, and local governments and the private sector – are key to the success of the IKE program. I appreciate everyone working together to secure another win for Kansas infrastructure,” said Kansas Secretary of Transportation Julie Lorenz.

The allocation of the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements Grants can be found below:

Project  Location  Federal Grant Amount  KDOT Contribution  Private Contribution 
Kyle Railroad Gateway Project Between Beloit and Uma Junction $9,367,112.50


$500,000.00 $25,000,000.00
Southwest Kansas Infrastructure Upgrade Project (Cimarron Valley Railroad) Between Dodge City and Hugoton $10,991,971.00


$500,000.00 $3,500,000.00
  Total $20,359,083.50 $1,000,000.00 $28,500,000.00



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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