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Railroad improvement project kicks off

A big project to improve railroads in several Appalachian states, including Kentucky, kicked off Monday.

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear joined officials with the R. J. Corman Railroad Group to begin the company's Appalachian Regional Short Line Project.

The project is creating jobs by rehabilitating railroad infrastructure in Kentucky, Tennessee, and West Virginia.

The project is being funded in part with a $17.5 million grant from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

"This project creates highly needed jobs and holds the promise of long-term benefits for Appalachia," Gov. Beshear said in a news release. "The Appalachian region historically has suffered from limited connections to national transportation systems. Rehabilitating short line tracks will provide continued and much-needed access to the national rail network for customers who depend on rail freight movement."

State officials say in Kentucky, the project will improve 246 miles of aging short line track along the Memphis, Central Kentucky, and Bardstown lines in 12 counties: Bullitt, Clark, Fayette, Franklin, Jefferson, Logan, Nelson, Shelby, Scott, Todd, Warren, and Woodford.

State officials say the work includes rail and grade crossings and bridge and tunnel improvements.

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