SIAP's focus is to help shortlines improve tracks and better serve industries in primarily rural areas. The grants support rural economic development by helping maintain connections to the national rail network, ensuring that industries can receive and ship materials and products across the country.
Twenty-one shortlines currently operate about 930 miles or 29 percent of freight railroads in North Carolina.
Eligible projects include rehabilitation, improvements to and construction of railroad track and other railroad infrastructure, as well as engineering inspection of bridges. NCDOT will reimburse up to 50 percent of project costs. Grant funding may also be used to help defray the costs of preparing or obtaining a Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing loan from the Federal Railroad Administration.
Grant awards will be based on need and the project's economic and transportation benefits to North Carolina.