Several northern Wisconsin and Michigan counties are working on a grant to buy rail cars to lure more rail business in the region.
Wendy Gehlhoff from Florence county chairs the Northwoods Rail Transit Commission.
The group has been meeting quarterly to keep rail service viable in the region. Canadian National provides service in this region.
She says one approach is to buy rail cars to haul logs, called the Great Lakes Log Car Fleet...
"....and they would be a dedicated fleet that would work in the northern Wisconsin, Upper Michigan and the forested region in northern Minnesota...the Great Lakes forest region you might say..."
The cars would be publically owned, but would be used by the rail companies to haul logs to market. The grant is through the U.S. Department of Transportation. She says the grant money would help this market as there has been little new investment in these types of cars...
"....we are just excited about the opportunity...(Canadian National) reached out ot us and a process that we can extend with other rail companies in the area to try to build a fleet. No one is putting a lot of capital money into log cars these days...."
Gehlhoff says they should hear back on the application sometime late summer.