Rail Transportation

Frequently Asked Questions

Railroad Development

Is there a DOT program that helps a company build a rail spur?

Yes. The Rail Revolving Loan and Grant Program provides funding for projects to improve rail facilities that will spur economic development and job growth and preserve and improve the rail transportation system.

Is there a state program that repairs railroad tracks?

Yes. Projects to repair, rebuild or improve railroad tracks are eligible to apply for funding through the Rail Revolving Loan and Grant Program.

Is there state money available to help me buy railroad track?

No. The purchase of an existing rail line is not eligible for funding.

How much money is available each year for rail development?

The amount available is dependent on loan repayments and legislative appropriations. In FY2006, $3.2 million available, but only $1.5 million was available in FY2007. In FY2008, nearly $4 million was available.

How much does it cost to build a rail spur or siding?

The cost varies depending on site conditions, track use and the connecting railroad. A rule of thumb for the cost of a rail spur is $100 per lineal foot (not including right of way, grading, engineering or switches.) Contact the connecting railroad for an estimated cost or the Rail Transporation Bureau at 515-239-1140.

Railroad Track Inspection

How can I express a concern about the condition of a railroad track segment?

For the north portion of Iowa, generally north of Highway 30, contact Jeff Secora at 515-239-1688. For the southern portion of Iowa, contact Lindon Bowen at 515-239-1058.


Does Iowa have a Rail Plan and how can I get a copy?

The Iowa State Rail Plan is intended to guide the Iowa Department of Transportation in its activities of promoting access to rail transportation, helping to improve the freight railroad transportation system, expanding passenger rail service, and promoting improved safety both on the rail system and where the rail system interacts with people and other transportation modes.