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Wadena to receive $1.4 million for rail infrastructure

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar and Wadena Mayor Wayne Wolden announced today that they have successfully secured $1.4 million to expand freight rail infrastructure in Wadena.

Much of Wadena was destroyed following a devastating tornado in 2010. Klobuchar and Mayor Wolden have worked together with local, state, and federal officials to secure the funds to extend rail to businesses and industries that have rebuilt in the community, a project critical to the local economy.

"The Wadena community is still experiencing pain from last year's devastating storm, and the damage has stunted the recovery process and hurt the city's economic development," Klobuchar said. "I recently visited Wadena to attend the groundbreaking of their new high school and meet with local leaders, and I have been in constant contact with Mayor Wolden and state and federal officials to help extend this rail line so that businesses can get back to normal in Wadena. I am pleased that our efforts have been successful."

"Wadena will benefit greatly from this and I am very grateful to Senator Klobuchar for her leadership in making this happen. The money, when matched with state and local funds, will total about $2 million dollars allowing Wadena to improve and extend a rail spur to our industrial park. This will benefit Leaf River Ag in its new location after its old facility was destroyed in the June 2010 tornado. It will also provide rail access to many other properties, including the old Peterson Biddick property that the City just finished acquiring and cleaning up. The Wadena Development Authority is currently working with Minnesota businesses that have a desire to expand on that property in Wadena which will provide needed jobs here," Mayor Wayne Wolden said. "I also wish to thank Jim Oberstar who started this process after the tornado and continued to pursue this on Wadena's behalf for the past year. Also, Dean Uselman, Director of the Wadena Development Authority, and Lee Miller of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development have also worked extremely hard making this happen. It's a great day for Wadena!"

Senator Klobuchar has visited Wadena numerous times since the tornado hit the community, most recently attending the groundbreaking of the Wadena-Deer Creek High School, which replaced the school that was destroyed by the storm, and meeting with Mayor Wolden and other local officials to discuss freight rail needs. She also spoke with Federal Rail Administration (FRA) Administrator Joseph Szabo about the importance of this project for the economic development of Wadena and the region as it recovers from the tornado and moves forward.

The funds come from the Federal Rail Administration through the Department of Transportation.