Minnesota Department of Transportation

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Minnesota Rail Service Improvement Program (MRSI)

Railroads in Minnesota.

MRSI Grant Program

The MRSI Grant program provides grants for freight rail service improvement projects that support economic development in accordance with Minnesota statute. Eligible applicants for the MRSI grant program include:

  • Railroads
  • Rail shippers
  • Political subdivisions of Minnesota
  • Federal agencies that seek to complete a major improvement or rehabilitation of railroad rights of way or other railroad facilities

MnDOT funds eight freight rail improvement projects

MnDOT has announced that eight freight rail projects will receive a total of $6.5 million in funding to improve freight rail service that support economic development in different parts of the state. The 2021 legislative special session provided funding for the MRSI program.

MRSI Loan Program

The MRSI loan program provides no-interest loans to improve rail service in Minnesota. Loans are available for the following purposes:

  • Capital Improvements - Provides rail users with loans for projects that improve rail service and strengthen the financial condition of the associated line. Eligible capital improvements projects include such as expanding industrial spurs, adding storage capacity, and building more efficient loading/unloading facilities. The Capital Improvement project applications are accepted on a quarterly basis and repaid on a quarterly basis over a period of 10 years. For more information, see the Capital Improvement Loan fact sheet.
  • Rail Line Rehabilitation - Provides low or no-interest loans to rehabilitate and preserve rail lines that are financially viable and have the potential to increase rail use. Rail Line Rehabilitation projects are funded 70% by the State, 20% Railroad, and 10% Shippers for privately owned Rail Lines. If the Line is owned by a Regional Rail Authority, the funding participation is 80% State, 10% Rail Authority and 10% Shippers. For more information, see the Rail Line Rehabilitation fact sheet.
  • Rail Purchase assistance - Assists Regional Railroad Authorities in acquiring rail lines that can be operated on a self-sustaining basis to provide local rail service. MnDOT can provide up to 50 percent of the value of the property. State funds are secured and require repayment only if the line is sold or ceases to serve a transportation function.

MnDOT is currently accepting applications for the MRSI loan program. To apply for a MRSI loan, complete and return the MRSI Loan Application.

Rail User and Rail Carrier Loan Guarantee Program

This program assists rail users in obtaining loans for rail rehabilitation and capital improvements by guaranteeing up to 90 percent of the loan. Rail users and rail carriers are eligible for assistance under the program. In addition to rail line rehabilitation, rolling stock acquisition and installation are eligible.