State funding for rail access projects approved

The state will provide matching funds for the development of industrial rail access business parks under a bill passed by lawmakers May 19.

Sen. Mike Groene
Sen. Mike Groene

Under LB40, introduced by North Platte Sen. Mike Groene, a nonprofit economic development corporation may apply to the director of the state Department of Economic Development for up to $30 million in matching funds to cover a project’s development costs. The director could approve up to $50 million in matching funds under the act.

Matching funds could be used for site acquisition and preparation, utility extensions and rail spur construction for the development of a new industrial rail access business park, including expenses incurred to help an initial tenant in the manufacturing, processing, distribution or transloading trades.

Qualifying projects must be located in a county with a population of fewer than 100,000 inhabitants.

Upon legislative appropriation of funds, the state will provide $2 of matching funds for each dollar invested up to $2.5 million. For a larger investment, the state will provide $5 in matching funds for each dollar invested.

Senators voted 49-0 to pass LB40.

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