State Senator Dave Argall (R-29) and State Representative Neal Goodman (D-123) today announced the release of $202,300 in capital budget funding for a rail-freight improvement project in Schuylkill County. The funds were distributed by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PENNDOT).

The Locust Valley Coal Company, Mahanoy Township, will use the funding to rehabilitate the track, replace cross ties, switch timbers and joint bars, as well as repairing misaligned rails and three bridges.

"This grant provides necessary capital that will improve essential rail-freight service operations in Schuylkill County," Argall said. "It's important to keep short-line and regional railroads in good operation in order to preserve jobs and maintain public safety."

"Locust Valley Coal Company, which is headquartered in the 123rd Legislative District, operates a 5.5-mile railroad line that serves a plastic factory in addition to the coal company," said Goodman. "Together, they employ more than 100 people. This investment will help protect those jobs and open up the possibility of future development along the railway."

"This funding enables short-lines like ours to maintain jobs and fuel the economy," said Ken Huebner, Vice President, Locust Valley Coal Company.

PENNDOT's Rail-Freight Assistance Program administers funding for the construction, maintenance, repair and rehabilitation of rail lines, rail sidings and grade crossings.