NCDOT Invests $10.2MM in Short Line Railroads

Written by Carolina Worrell, Senior Editor
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The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) on Dec. 19 announced that it is investing $10.2 million as part of 50-50 matching grant funding for rail infrastructure projects along 10 short line railroads and at the North Carolina Ports.

The state’s share of the $20.5 million for all the rail projects, which is provided through the NCDOT’s Freight Rail & Rail Crossing Safety Improvement (FRRCSI) program, will match equal investments from several railroad companies.

According to NCDOT, the projects will improve 14 railroad bridges and 27 miles of railroad track in North Carolina, supporting the increase of freight rail traffic on the statewide railroad network, and reducing highway traffic congestion by diverting freight to rail.

Through the FRRCSI program, NCDOT’s Rail Division partners with railroad companies to support statewide freight rail infrastructure health, safety and performance. This public-private partnership, the agency says, “helps efficiently and cost-effectively meet the growing demand for rail service.”

Each of the rail improvement projects will be paid for with 50-50 matching funds from the state and private railroad companies. Those projects and the state grant funds are:

“We are pleased to work with our short line railroad partners to improve the state’s critical freight rail network,” said NCDOT Rail Director Jason Orthner. “These projects are important investments to ensure our infrastructure can support growing transportation demands and economic development opportunities.”

In May, NCDOT awarded five Class II railroads in the state $2.1 million in matching grant funds through the FRRCSI Program for infrastructure projects. The funding supplements $12 million in FRRCSI grants to 12 short lines announced in December 2022.

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