Funding programme opens to improve rail freight in Massachusetts

Posted: 5 May 2023 | | No comments yet

MassDOT has opened a new round of funding to seek applications from rail freight supported businesses for projects to expand or improve rail freight.

Funding programme opens to improve rail freight in Massachusetts

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) has opened a new round of funding for the Fiscal Year 2024 Industrial Rail Access Program (IRAP) which aims to accept applications from freight rail-supported businesses across the state for projects to expand or improve rail or freight access and which will support economic opportunity, safety and job growth.

Transportation Secretary and CEO, Gina Fiandaca, said: “This grant programme has been highly successful in supporting the expansion of businesses which move rail freight in Massachusetts, thereby resulting in taking truck traffic off the roads and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the state. Sometimes a business just needs additional railroad track on their property, a larger loading dock, or equipment to off-load goods in order to grow, and this grant programme offers those businesses an opportunity to leverage funds to make these critical investments.”

IRAP is a competitive state-funded public/private partnership programme that provides financial assistance to eligible applicants to invest in industry-based rail infrastructure access improvement projects. Applicants must match public funds with private funds, with private funds paying at least 40% of a project’s total cost. Applicants may match more than the required minimum.

Meredith Slesinger, MassDOT Rail and Transit Administrator, said: “The IRAP grant programme has helped support economic growth and infrastructure improvements across the Commonwealth for more than 10 years. Our freight rail businesses are valuable members of the community in cities and towns around the state and this programme is an excellent example of the public and private sector partnering to grow the economy, reduce congestion, and help achieve our climate goals.”

All applications will be approved based upon consistency with programme requirements and the level of public benefits they offer such as system preservation, mobility, economic development, and safety.  

In the most recent round of IRAP awards, over $3.1 million was awarded to seven projects throughout the Commonwealth in 2022. Those seven projects are expected to eliminate a total of 23,000 truck trips each year, support over 13,000 added rail car deliveries, add 22 jobs to support the increased railroad activity and provide businesses with improved access to rail and freight infrastructure.