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Grant will spur rail development

Webster County sups accept $900K to construct line near ag park

June 29, 2011
By LINDSEY MUTCHLER - Messenger staff writer , Messenger News

Funding for a railroad spur at the Webster County Agricultural Industrial Park was secured Tuesday by the Webster County Board of Supervisors.

Monies totaling $900,000 were awarded to the county through the Rail Revolving Loan and Grant Program from the Iowa Department of Transportation.

It was unanimously accepted by the board and will assist in paying for the first phase of four at the ag park located west of Fort Dodge along Iowa Highway 7, according to John Kramer, president of the Development Corporation of Fort Dodge and Webster County.

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Supervisors meeting

"It's a grant we applied for well in excess of a year ago, that will put rail lines on the south side of Cargill's property that would be owned by the county and extend all the way from the connector all the way west across the property," Kramer said.

Cargill is the new owner of the former Tate & Lyle wet mill plant. Cargill announced in March that it had purchased the plant for $57 million and plans to produce 115 million gallons of ethanol a year using 150,000 bushels of corn a day.

The railroad spur would be owned by the county and connect the north-south Union Pacific and east-west Canadian National lines.

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Train crews leave a string of grain and tank cars in the existing railroad yard west of Fort Dodge that serve the area. $900,000 has been awarded to Webster County through the Rail Revolving Loan and Grant Program from the Iowa Department of Transportation to build additional county owned track in the area.

In addition to serving local clients in the park, such as Cargill, the county hopes it will lure more companies to the area such as a rail car maintenance client.

"It's described here as grant/loan, so it's a combination of both?" Supervisor Bob Singer asked Kramer.

Kramer said it is a combination, and the county would have two years to repay the loan with the possibility of an extension. Of the $900,000, $600,000 is a loan to be repaid and $300,000 is a grant, according to information from 2009 listed on the Iowa Department of Transporation's website.

"This is the first leg in probably a four-phase development," Kramer said.

In a related matter, the board tabled action on an economic development assistance contract between Cargill, Webster County and the Iowa Department of Economic Development.

Supervisor Keith Dencklau said it wasn't an urgent matter, and the board was asked to wait.

In April, the Iowa Department of Economic Development agreed to give Cargill a $2 million loan and $603,000 in tax credits.

One-half of the loan will be forgiven, while the other half will be repaid over five years with no interest, according to the Department of Economic Development.

The tax credits will be in the form of a refund of sales, service and use taxes paid during construction, according to the department.

The Cargill plant is expected to be up and running in 18 to 24 months and employ a 104 people while creating another market for area farmers.

Contact Lindsey Mutchler at (515) 573-2141 or



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