PennDOT taking application for rail grants

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Rail Freight, Ports and Waterways is accepting applications for the 2020 Rail Transportation Assistance Program, or RTAP.

Last year PennDOT awarded $40 million to 26 rail freight projects.

PennDOT manages RTAP, a capital budget grant program funded with bonds. The maximum state funding for an RTAP project is 70 percent of the total project costs.

PennDOT said the program has become very competitive and not all applications will receive funding.

Projects are selected for funding based upon an objective process that serves the legislative intent of the programs and public benefit.

Last year’s recipients included Lehigh Valley Rail Management in Northampton County, which received $456,269 to replace 3,515 ties and 218 bridge timbers and surface approximately 3 miles of track to increase storage capacity for rail-truck transload; and Strasburg Rail Road Company in Lancaster County, which received $1.7 million to construct less than 1 mile of track by extending interchange track and constructing new bulk, ladder, and lead tracks to more than double current yard capacity.

“Pennsylvania’s vast rail freight network has moved goods and services efficiently during the COVID-19 pandemic, keeping the country moving and ensuring jobs for its employees,” said Secretary Yassmin Gramian. “Our grant programs focus on safety and reflect the commonwealth’s commitment to serving the business community.”

She noted that Pennsylvania ranks first in the country in the number of operating railroads, with 65, and ranks near the top in total track mileage, with more than 5,600 miles.

More information can be found on the PennDOT website.