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Legistlative Reception
Railroad Revolving Loan and Grant Program Brochure

Funding History

FY2006 to present
Summary of awards
Map of awards

Railroad Revolving Loan and Grant (RRLG) Program



Applications now being accepted through June 26, 2014

The Rail Revolving Loan and Grant Program (RRLG) provides financial assistance to improve rail facilities that will create jobs, spur economic activity and improve the rail transportation system in Iowa.  The program is funded through appropriations from the state legislature and repayments  from loans for rail development projects funded in the past.

The RRLG program has three funding categories under which eligible applicants may apply:

  1. Targeted job creation. These rail projects are those that provide immediate, direct job opportunities. Funding is contingent on job creation and retention commitments by the applicant.  Both grants and loans are available. Grant requests require of 50 pecent local contribution to the overall rail project cost. Loan requests require a 20 percent local contribution.
  2. Rail network improvement. These rail projects are those that support existing rail lines and service.  No direct job creation is required. Only loans are available in this category. Loans will be offered at 0 percent for a ten-year term. Loan requests require a 20 percent local contribution.
  3. Rail Port Planning and Development. For the first time, the RRLG program will offer grants for rail port planning and development studies. 

Industries, railroads, local governments or economic development agencies are eligible to apply.

Targeted Job Creation Projects

Immediate, direct job opportunities must be associated with Targeted Job Creation projects. 

Examples of projects eligible in this category include but are not limited to: building  a rail spur to a new or expanding development; building or rehabilitating sidings to accommodate a growing or new business or industry.

Targeted Jobs Creation applications will be reviewed using a 100 point review criteria.

  • Jobs leverage score (40 points)
  • Wage quality score (20 points)
  • Capital investment leverage score (20 points)
  • Loan leverage score (20 points)

When applying for grant funds, an applicant must provide a minimum cash match of 50 percent of the cost of the proposed rail project.

When applying for loan funds, an applicant must provide a minimum cash match of 20 percent of the cost of the proposed rail project. Loans will be offered for a maximum term of 10 years at 0 percent interest.

Job creation is defined to include new direct jobs created and jobs retained within two years of the completed rail project. (If an applicant chooses to claim retained jobs, they must provide evidence of the potential job loss.) The number of jobs pledged to be created or retained will become part of the final agreement should an applicant receive funding.

As a threshold for project consideration, the average wage for jobs to be created or retained must meet 100 percent of the laborshed wage rate at the time of the initial  application as provided by the  Iowa Economic Development Authority.  Applications not meeting this threshold will not be considered for funding. 

Job creation and wage rate confirmation is required following completeion of the project.  The Targeted Jobs Creation Settlement Process details the process and requirements for compliance.

For new projects only, an advance eligibility waiver may be available that will allow reimbursement of certain preparatory expenditures (such as land acquisition or design) incurred prior to any future award. A written request for a waiver must be requested and granted prior to the expenditure. Granting of a waiver does not imply or guarantee in any way a future award, but may maximize eligible expenses in the event of an award. Contact Laura Hutzell (515-239-1066) for more detailed information.  

Applications may be submitted at any time (see application form for details).  Send applications by e-mail to Laura Hutzell or by mail to:
Laura Hutzell , Iowa DOT
Office of Rail Transportation
800 Lincoln Way
Ames, IA 50010

Rail Network Improvement Projects

Each fiscal year, the department may set aside 10 percent or a minimum of $200,000 of the amount available under the Rail Revolving Loan and Grant Program for rail network improvement projects. These funds will be reserved in the first round of funding only.

Immediate job creation is not required for rail network improvement projects.

Examples of projects eligible in this category include, but are not limited to: rail yard improvement or expansion; rehabilitation or construction of branch lines and passing track; industrial park development without specific job commitment.

Applicant must provide a minimum cash match of 20 percent of the cost of the proposed rail project. Loans will be offered for a maximum term of 10 years at 0 percent interest.

All applications are to be complete upon submission and should focus on project justification in terms of public benefits versus public costs. Public benefits can be described in terms of potential new job creation, savings in transport costs and capital investment. Public costs can be described in terms of the funding requested, in relation to overall community and economic benefit and other infrastructure investments.

Rail Network Improvement project applications will be reviewed using these criteria:

  • Ratio of private and other public investment to RRLG requested investment; and
  • Analysis of other private and public benefits
Refer to the application materials below for a more comprehensive overview of the required information.

Applications may be submitted at any time. Send applications by e-mail to Laura Hutzell or by mail to:

Laura Hutzell , Iowa DOT
Office of Rail Transportation
800 Lincoln Way
Ames, IA 50010

Rail Port Planning and Development Studies

The rail port planning and development grant opportunity is new to the Railroad Revolving Loan and Grant (RRLG) Program for 2012. Eligible projects include planning and development studies that collect information and create databases that enable a community, county or region to make fact-based decisions concerning the location, design, or funding requirements for a rail port facility. The end result of a planning study should help decision makers evaluate rail development options that support industrial and business progress and economic growth in the community and regions.

Eligible applicants are those allowed under the existing administrative rules: cities, counties, development organizations, businesses, rail companies, and alliances of such organizations.

Grants are offered for a maximum of $100,000 per individual applicant. Applicants must provide cash match to the grant amount requested. Grants may be requested for up to 80 percent of the total planning and development study cost with the applicant providing a minimum of 20 percent of the study cost. An applicant may receive only one award per application cycle. Immediate job creation is not required.

Applications will be reviewed on 100 point scale.
  1. Existing/Site information: 20 possible points
    This section will provide what is currently known about the potential site or sites that will be included in the study.
  2. Goals of the study: 50 possible points
    This section will provide details on the study's goals, research to be conducted, and time frame.
  3. Organizational structure and capacity: 30 possible points
    This section will provide information on the organization overseeing the study.
Refer to the application materials for a more comprehensive overview of the required information.

Send applications by e-mail to Laura Hutzell or by mail to:
Laura Hutzell , Iowa Department of Transportation
Office of Rail Transportation
800 Lincoln Way
Ames , Iowa 50010

Funding Availability

NOTICE OF FUNDING AVAILABILITY: RAILROAD REVOLVING AND GRANT PROGRAM Dated May 9, 2014
The Railroad Revolving Loan and Grant (RRLG) Program provides financial assistance to improve rail facilities that will create jobs, spur economic activity and improve the rail transportation system in Iowa. The program is funded through appropriations from the state legislature and repayments from loans for rail development projects funded in the past. For state fiscal year 2015, the program has an expected minimum of $4,000,000 available for eligible projects.

Like last year, the RRLG program will also be offering grants for rail port planning and development studies. A minimum of $200,000 will be available for planning and development studies.

Applications submitted by 3:30 p.m. on June 26, 2014 will be reviewed in June and July. It is expected that the Iowa Transportation Commission will act upon recommendations at their October meeting.

The RRLG program has three funding categories under which eligible applicants may apply:

  • Targeted Job Creation: These rail projects are those that provide immediate, direct job opportunities. Funding is contingent on job creation and retention commitments by the applicant. Both grants and loans are available. Grant requests require a 50% match contribution to the overall rail project cost. Loan requests require a 20% match contribution.
  • Rail Network Improvement: These rail projects are those that support existing rail lines and service. No direct job creation is required. Only loans are available in this category. Loans will be offered at 0% for a ten year term. Loan requests require a 20% match contribution.
  • Rail Port Planning and Development: These studies will further efforts to plan, design and otherwise prepare for the development of rail port facilities. Grants will be available in this category. Grant requests require a 20% match contribution. No single award may be greater than $100,000.

Industries, railroads, local governments or economic development agencies are eligible to apply.

For detailed information on the Railroad Revolving Loan and Grants program and how to apply, please refer to www.iowadot.gov/iowarail/assistance/rrlgp.htm

Please submit applications and required attachments to Laura.Hutzell@dot.iowa.gov or to:

Laura Hutzell
Iowa Department of Transportation
Office of Rail Transportation
800 Lincoln Way
Ames, IA 50010

Application Forms and Information

Applicants are encouraged to review the complete RRLG Program guidelines prior to submitting application. All applicants must submit a Minority Impact Statement Form along with application.

Industries, railroads, local governments or economic development agencies are eligible to apply.

Additional information
Railroad Revolving Loan and Grant Program — Administrative Rules

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

For further program information or questions, E-mail Laura Hutzell or call 515-239-1066.  

Recent Awards