Governor Edward G. Rendell announced the investment of $30 million as part of PennDOT’s Rail Freight Capital Budget/Transportation Assistance program and a separate $8.5 million in Rail Freight Assistance grants.

“Pennsylvania’s rail industry is a staple of our economy, supplying thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in revenue,” Governor Rendell said. “These funds will be invested in safety and efficiency upgrades that will help stimulate local economies and better serve businesses.”

Governor Rendell added $10 million to this year’s Capital program, bringing the total to $30 million. The program is funded through state capital bond dollars in the General Fund. The grants, authorized by the General Assembly, are administered by PennDOT’s Bureau of Rail Freight, Ports & Waterways.

In addition, PennDOT administers a separate grant program paid for with General Fund dollars.

All of these grants were approved Thursday by the 15-member State Transportation Commission.

Railroad companies, transportation organizations, municipalities, municipal authorities and users of rail freight infrastructure with a line item on an active capital budget act are eligible for the funding.

Pennsylvania has more than 6,000 rail miles and more than 7,000 Pennsylvanians are employed by freight railroads.