Iowa Rail

Rail development financial assistance


Financial assistance to strengthen, enhance or preserve Iowa's rail transportation system and encourage economic development and job growth are available.

A brief summary of each is included below with links to further information on eligibility and the application process. Also included are links to related state and federal funding programs.

In addition, programs are available to assist with safety improvements at highway-railroad crossings.

Rail development assistance programs

Railroad Revolving Loan and Grant Program (RRLGP)

The RRLGP provides assistance to improve rail facilities that will spur economic development and job growth and provide assistance to railroads for the preservation and improvement of the railroad transportation system. Both grants and loans are available and are awarded based on competitive applications.

Linking Iowa’s Freight Transportation System (LIFTS) Program

The LIFTS program is a grant funding opportunity to improve Iowa’s freight transportation system. The LIFTS program grant funding is not limited to a particular mode of transportation, but is designed to assist projects that contribute to effective and efficient freight transportation. Project eligibility is far ranging.

Iowa Clean Air Attainment Program (ICAAP)

Rail projects are eligible for funding under (ICAAP), which provides funding for projects that reduce congestion, improve traffic flow and reduce vehicle emissions.

Related programs

Railroad Safety Grants for the Safe Transportation of Energy Products by Rail Program

Competitive grant program available to states for public and private railroad grade crossing enhancement and track improvement projects that improve safety on rail routes that transport flammable energy products.

Fiscal Year Project Requested Amount
2016 26th to Edgewood Rd. Track Improvement Project $1,065,000
2016 Des Moines Metropolitan Des Moines Mainline Track Improvement $2,390,059

National Infrastructure Investments (TIGER Discretionary Grants)

Competitive grant program for capital investments in surface transportation infrastructure that will have a significant impact on the Nation, a metropolitan area, or a region.

Fiscal Year Project Requested Amount
2015 Upper Midwest Transportation Hub $7.1 million
2014 Upper Midwest Transportation Hub $14.6 million
2013 Upper Midwest Transportation Hub $16 million

Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing (RRIF)

Administered by the Federal Railroad Administration, the RRIF program assists railroads with refinancing, line acquisition, track rehabilitation, or development of new intermodal facilities.

Transportation enhancements

The Transportation Enhancement program provides funding assistance for transportation related enhancements that fall within three categories: trails and bikeways; historic and archaeological; or scenic and environmental. The Transportation Enhancement Program is administered by the Iowa DOT's System Planning Bureau. Restorations of several historic Iowa rail depots have been assisted through this program.

The Funding Guide provides information on this and a variety of other funding programs available for transportation projects.


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