Minnesota Rail Service Improvement Program grant funding available

Published 7:51 am Tuesday, October 2, 2018

St. Paul – Railroad companies, rail users, cities and counties can apply for grant funding to improve freight rail service that supports economic development through the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s (MnDOT) 2018 Minnesota Rail Service Improvement Program.

This is the first time MnDOT is offering a competitive solicitation for grants for economic development.

The $1 million in general obligation bonds were approved during the 2017 legislative session. MnDOT may provide additional funding for projects.

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The Minnesota Rail Service Program has administered more than $57 million in capital improvement loans, completing 103 projects since 2000. The program was established in 1976 to strengthen the state’s shipping economy. The program was given authority to issue grants for freight rail service improvements that support economic development for the first time in 2017.

Examples of eligible projects include railroad tracks, roadbeds, turnouts, bridges, buildings and fixed loading/unloading equipment.

“This type of funding is crucial to businesses in the state that depend on rail transportation,” said program manager in the Office of Freight and Commercial Vehicle Operations said in a press release on Monday. “Many times small railroads and businesses lack the capital to make necessary improvements on their own. This funding helps the smaller railroads and shippers continue to provide competitive options and efficient movement of goods.”

Applications are due Nov. 1 and are available online at www.mndot.gov/ofrw/railroad/mrsi.html. A MnDOT project selection team will review and score eligible applications. Award recipients will be notified once selections are made.

For questions about the application, contact Dahlberg at Peter.Dahlberg@state.mn.us. For more information on the application or the Minnesota Rail Service Program, go to www.mndot.gov/ofrw/railroad/mrsi.html.