DRPT funds numerous passenger and freight rail projects annually through its four grant programs. In addition to grant management, DRPT’s Rail Division also leads statewide rail planning efforts, including projects such as the State Rail Plan and the Washington, D.C. to Richmond High Speed Rail Environmental Impact Study.
Learn more about DRPT’s rail grant programs:
DRPT plays a large role in supporting Amtrak passenger service in the Commonwealth. The agency, through the IPROC Fund, supports the operation of four Amtrak Northeast Regional train routes which feed into Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor between Washington, D.C. and Boston, M.A. In addition, the IPROC Fund can be used for large capital projects that benefit the Commonwealth’s intercity passenger rail service, such as rail network improvements made for the passenger rail extension to Roanoke.
Virginia Railway Express (VRE) commuter rail operating and capital expenses are funded through Federal Transit Administration (FTA) grants, as well as Rail Enhancement Fund (REF) grants. IPROC funds are not used for VRE projects; however, IPROC funding for projects on tracks shared by both Amtrak and VRE does benefit VRE service.
DRPT also works closely with the two major Class I railroads operating in Virginia: CSX and Norfolk Southern, as well as the nine shortline railroads that provide local and switching services to industries and ports across the state. The Rail Preservation Fund (RPF) provides resources to the shortline railroads to help with large capital projects such as rail replacement and bridge repairs.
The Rail Enhancement Fund (REF) is a dedicated source of funding for large capital projects which may benefit freight service, passenger service, or both. This grant funds 70% of project costs, with the remaining 30% paid for by grantee. All projects must have benefits which at-least equal project costs. Virginia’s Class I railroads, the Port of Virginia and Virginia Railway Express commuter rail are typical recipients of REF grants.
DRPT is the state authority responsible for planning freight and passenger rail service in the Commonwealth. Every five years, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) requires states to submit an updated State Rail Plan. This is required in order for Virginia to be eligible for federal rail funding. DRPT coordinates this effort, along with any passenger or freight rail-related study mandated by the General Assembly or the Commonwealth Transportation Board. To learn more about DRPT's rail planning, please visit this page.