Minnesota Department of Transportation

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March 8, 2021

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MnDOT seeks applicants for Minnesota Rail Service Improvement Program grant funding

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Railroads, rail users, cities and counties can apply for grant funding to improve freight rail service that supports economic development through the 2021 Minnesota Rail Service Improvement Program, the Minnesota Department of Transportation announced today. Applications are due March 31.

The $4 million in general obligation bonds were approved during the 2020 special legislative session. MnDOT may provide additional funding for projects.

“This type of funding is crucial to businesses in the state that depend on rail transportation,” said Peter Dahlberg, Office of Freight and Commercial Vehicle Operations program manager. “Many times small railroads and businesses lack the capital to make necessary improvements on their own. This funding helps the smaller railroads and shippers continue to provide competitive options and efficient movement of goods.”

Examples of eligible projects include railroad tracks, roadbeds, turnouts, bridges, buildings and fixed loading/unloading equipment. Funding cannot be used for regular or recurring maintenance activities, incomplete or phased projects or engineering, design and right of way acquisition costs.

Applications and more information about the program are available at mndot.gov/ofrw/railroad/mrsi.html.

A MnDOT project selection team will review and score eligible applications. Award recipients will be notified once selections are made.

For questions about the application, contact Dahlberg at Peter.Dahlberg@state.mn.us.

The program has administered more than $58 million in loans and grants for capital improvement projects since it was established in 1976 to strengthen the state’s shipping economy. The program was given authority to issue grants for freight rail service improvements that support economic development in 2017.