DRPT’s Rail Division manages grant programs to implement freight and passenger rail initiatives. These funds have evolved over time and serve a specific function in the Commonwealth’s efforts to maintain a competitive rail network serving the Port of Virginia and achieve maximum truck diversion from Virginia’s highways.
Rail Industrial Access Fund
The Rail Industrial Access Program promotes truck diversion by providing grant assistance to connect new or expanding businesses to the freight railroad network. The program supports localities, businesses, or industries seeking access to a common carrier railroad. Applications are accepted throughout the year.
Rail Preservation Fund
The Rail Preservation Fund benefits the shortline railroads, which provide the “local” network and the “last mile” of service for rail freight to reach its destination. It promotes the continuation of rail service by achieving Federal Railroad Administration Class 2 track safety standards. It also promotes development of rail transportation support facilities, encouraging industrial growth and promoting truck diversion from Virginia’s highways.
Rail Enhancement Fund
The Rail Enhancement Fund is a dedicated source of funding for capital improvements benefiting passenger and freight initiatives. Applications must achieve a Benefit-Cost Ratio of 1.0 or greater, meaning the value of public benefits must be greater than the public funds invested within an established time period. This fund is typically utilized by Class I railroads, the Port of Virginia, and Virginia Railway Express for major capital investments.
Intercity Passenger Rail Operating and Capital Fund
The Intercity Passenger Rail Operating and Capital (IPROC) Fund provides operational funding for four state-supported Amtrak Routes, consisting of six state-supported Amtrak trains. The Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008 required states with Amtrak services less than 750 miles to pay for the routes or cease operation. This fund enables the Commonwealth to continue those services. It is also the source of funds for passenger rail equipment upgrades and capital improvements.