The U.S. Department of Transportation has announced a direct loan and loan guarantee program for railroads that will provide up to $3.5 billion in loans, including $1 billion for projects benefiting shortline and regional railroads.
The Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing Program will provide funding for small railroads to accommodate 286,000-pound cars, for highway-rail grade crossing elimination projects and for other railroad infrastructure improvements.
The program, authorized by the 1998 Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century, allows funding to be used to acquire, improve or rehabilitate intermodal or rail equipment or facilities, including track, components of track, bridges, yards, buildings and shops; to refinance outstanding debt incurred for the previous purposes; and to develop or establish new intermodal or railroad facilities.