Federal Rail Administration
The Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing (RRIF) is a credit assistance program that was established by the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21). It is meant to assist railroads with refinancing, line acquisition, track rehabilitation, or development of new intermodal facilities.
The Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA), also established by TEA-21, is a credit assistance program for large surface transportation programs, typically of $50 million or more.
The Iowa Department of Transportation offers three programs to assist with railroad crossings and warning signals: the State Grade Crossing Surface Repair Program, the State Grade Crossing Safety Program, and the Federal-Aid Highway/Rail Crossing Safety Program.
The State Grade Crossing Surface Repair Program allocates $900,000 annually from Iowa’s Road Use Tax Fund to assist railroads, cities, and counties in repairing railroad crossings. The railroads and the responsible roadway jurisdiction each pay 20 percent of the cost, and the program covers the remaining 60 percent.
The State Grade Crossing Safety Program assists in maintaining railroad crossing signals through an annual $700,000 appropriation from Iowa’s Road Use Tax Fund.
The Federal-Aid Highway/Rail Crossing Program offers assistance for improvements to railroad crossings to maintain safety. The program can be used for projects that “install new crossing signal devices, upgrade existing signals, improve crossing surfaces, and provide low-cost improvements, such as increased sight distance, widened crossings, increased signal lens size, or crossing closures.”
The Iowa Department of Transportation also provides several railroad assistance programs, such as the Railroad Revolving Loan and Grant Program (RRLGP) and the Intermodal Pilot Project Program.
The Railroad Revolving Loan and Grant Program (RRLGP) provides funds for projects that promote economic development, job growth, and preservation/improvement of the rail transportation system. The program distributes funds as either loans or grants; however, grants are limited to 50% of the total program funds available.
The Intermodal Pilot Project Program loans up to $700,000 for new intermodal transportation facilities or for projects that improve, restore, conserve, repair, rehabilitate, or expand existing intermodal transportation facilities.
The Iowa Department of Transportation’s Iowa Clean Air Attainment Program (ICAAP) provides funds for railroad projects that reduce congestion, improve traffic flow, and reduce vehicle emissions.
The Transportation Enhancements program provides funds for projects in three categories: trails and bikeways, historic and archaeological, or scenic and environmental. The Transportation Enhancements program previously helped restore several of Iowa’s historic railroad depots.