Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation


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.


The 2020 General Assembly established the Commonwealth Rail Fund (CRF) to replace the Intercity Passenger Rail Operating and Capital, and Rail Enhancement Funds. Of the funds allocated to CRF, 93 percent is dedicated to the new Virginia Passenger Rail Authority (VPRA). The remaining seven percent remains with DRPT for planning purposes and grants not administered by the VPRA. Additionally, up to $4 million may be used for the purposes of the Rail Preservation Fund.

DRPT developed guidelines for a new program funding through the CRF, known as the FREIGHT Program; adopted by the Commonwealth Transportation Board on February 15, 2022. 

The FREIGHT program is designed to support rail infrastructure investments to expand the Virginia freight rail network. Projects in the FREIGHT program must also have sufficient level of design to move confidently forward with construction, and further the goals and vision set forth in Virginia’s Statewide Rail Plan. The FREIGHT program deploys a data driven approach to evaluate applications, and funding awards are actively managed by DRPT to ensure Commonwealth funding is administered appropriately and efficiently. Funding awards also require a performance period once the project has been completed to ensure the investment brings lasting benefits to the economy and transportation network in Virginia. 


Rail Preservation Fund (RPF)

The Rail Preservation Fund benefits the nine shortline railroads operating in Virginia, which provide the “local” network and the “last mile” of service for rail freight to reach its destination. The fund promotes the continuation of rail service by achieving Federal Railroad Administration Class 2 track safety standards, allowing freight service to operate at speeds up to 25 mph. It also promotes development of rail transportation support facilities, encouraging industrial growth and promoting truck diversion from Virginia’s highways.  A minimum of 30% cash or in-kind contribution from private sources is required for this grant.  No more than 50% of total annual funds available for the RPF can be dedicated to any one project.

RPF Application Procedure Guide
RPF Scoring Sheet FY23

Rail Industrial Access (RIA)

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.  A grant of up to $450,000 may be requested.  Funding requires a 30% match by the applicant.  No locality may request more than 50% of funds available in any given year and grants are limited to one per locality per fiscal year.  Program funding will be used to construct rail spurs for businesses for economic development. 

RIA Application
RIA Application Procedure Guide
RIA Scoring Sheet
RIA Highlights


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