This latest grant will help alleviate stalled trains in Millen that hinder mobility for families and students and emergency services, promoting greater accessibility for all
Crossings block residential areas from vital services and community hubs including the Jenkins County High School, medical and health care centers, and the Millen City Hall and Police Department, creating undue hardships and accessibility issues
Washington, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senators Jon Ossoff (D-GA) and Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA), a member of the Senate Commerce and Transportation committee, announced $12 million in new federal funding for a project in Jenkins County that will improve mobility by helping eliminate railway-highway crossings.
The funds are allocated from the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Rural Surface Transportation Grant Program, made possible by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law championed by Senators Warnock and Ossoff.
“After hearing from Millen and Jenkins County leaders about railroad crossing blockages that are not just inconvenient, but downright dangerous, Senator Warnock and I elevated this as one of our highest priorities. Senator Warnock and I are now delivering resources through the bipartisan infrastructure law to plan and begin construction to address this crisis,” Senator Ossoff said. “I thank and commend Mayor Rocker, Chairman Weathersby and the Jenkins County Board of Commissioners, and GDOT Commissioner McMurry for their work on this project.”
“Our communities thrive when we are better connected, which is why I have been working to strengthen rail safety and tackle the dangerous conditions posed by stalled trains in Georgia,” said Senator Reverend Warnock. “The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law continues to deliver historic investments for Georgians in every corner of the state. This latest grant will help alleviate stalled trains in Millen that hinder mobility for families and students, emergency services, agricultural freight, and promote greater accessibility for all.”
The project will implement three grade-separated rail crossings in Millen: one just north of the railyard on SR 21/Millen Bypass and two on SR 67/17/East Winthrope Avenue. When complete, this project will dramatically increase efficiency of the local transportation network for emergency vehicles, personal vehicles belonging to nearby residents, and freight movements. Further, the removal of this crossing will ameliorate the hardships and accessibility issues faced by communities on the west side of the existing crossing who cannot reach vital local services when the roadway is blocked by trains.
“I want to express our sincere appreciation for the invaluable support provided through the federal funds allocated for the construction of the overpass at the rail crossing facilitating seamless access for traffic from the Port of Savannah,” said Millen Mayor King Rocker. “This crucial investment not only enhances transportation infrastructure but also serves as a catalyst for economic development within our community. The increased ease of travel will undoubtedly have a positive impact on the vibrancy and vitality of our community, attracting new opportunities. As we move forward with the implementation of this project, we look forward to the positive transformation it will bring to our community. Your generous support has not only funded a physical structure but has laid the foundation for sustained economic development, improved accessibility, and an enhanced quality of life for all who call our community home.”
Senator Ossoff has worked alongside Senator Reverend Warnock to help Georgia communities address railroad crossings blockages. In September, Senator Ossoff urged U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to support GDOT and Millen’s project. This June, Senators Ossoff and Warnock delivered Federal resources for Chatham, DeKalb, and Gwinnett Counties through the bipartisan infrastructure law’s Railroad Crossing Elimination Grant Program.
Earlier this year, Senator Warnock secured the passage of two critical provisions in the Railway Safety Act of 2023 to address stalled trains trapping Atlanta residents in their neighborhood, and would update the grant program to provide additional support for projects that would eliminate crossings near schools, along school bus routes. In August, the Senator sent a letter urging Secretary Buttigieg to approve the Millen project. And in 2021, Senator Warnock joined Senator Mike Braun (R-IN) to introduce the bipartisan Railway Upgrades for Rural American Lines (RURAL) Act to build on the successes already found through the Section 130 grant program and help states modernize unsafe or functionally outdated railroad warning devices.