State DOTs Providing Rail Infrastructure Grants

The North Carolina Department of Transportation and Minnesota Department of Transportation recently issued millions in grant funding to support a variety of railroad infrastructure projects, primarily to meet freight transport needs.

[Above photo by the NCDOT]

The North Carolina Ports Authority and 13 short line railroads are receiving approximately $10.9 million in matching grant funds from the Freight Rail and Rail Crossing Safety Improvement program or FRRCSI.

NCDOT said in a statement that its FRRCSI program – established in 2013 by the General Assembly – enables the agency to collaborate with rail companies on rail freight projects that meet current customer needs in cost-effective ways while preparing the state’s rail networks for future expansion.

The grants align with private railroad investments to contribute more than $21.7 million in rail infrastructure improvements statewide. Overall, that combined funding will support projects that upgrade 12 miles of railroad track and 35 rail bridges in North Carolina.

Photo by the Minnesota DOT

Meanwhile, the Minnesota DOT is supporting eight freight rail projects with a total of $6.5 million in funding as part of a broader effort to buttress economic development in different parts of the state. The agency provides those grants through its Minnesota Rail Service Improvement program with funding approved during the 2021 legislative special session.

The agency said it received 16 applications for grants this year, requesting a total of $18.9 million for rail service projects for this round of MRSI funding.

“The number of applications received this winter demonstrates continued strong demand for improving freight rail infrastructure throughout the state,” explained Peter Dahlberg, program manager for Minnesota DOT’s office of freight and commercial vehicle operations, in a statement.

“Better rail service gives Minnesota businesses more opportunity to compete in global and national markets,” he added.

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