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Policies and Procedures


The Department of Transportation (NCDOT) will help fund the cost of constructing rail tracks required to serve a new business or a business expansion as part of a statewide effort to attract new industry to North Carolina. The purpose of the funds is to provide an incentive for companies to locate or expand in North Carolina rather than out of state. Funds should be applied for early, prior to making a location decision.

Eligible Recipients

Local governments, community development organizations, railroad companies and industries.

Eligible Projects

Funds may be used to construct or rehabilitate railroad spur tracks.

Allocation of Funds

Recipients may receive a maximum 50% of total project costs.

Responsibility for Project Tracks

The grant recipient (or industry) shall be responsible for ownership and assume maintenance and liability for the project tracks.


The Rail Industrial Access Program is administered by the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT). The Rail Division of NCDOT reviews applications and makes funding recommendations to the North Carolina Board of Transportation (NCBOT). To receive Board of Transportation approval in a particular month, the application should be submitted by the first of the prior month.


Applications for Rail Industrial Access funds can be obtained from the NCDOT at the following address:

North Carolina Department of Transportation
Rail Division
1553 MSC
Raleigh, NC 27699
(919) 707-4711
Fax: (919) 715-6579

Railroad Commitment

The railroad company owning the main tracks to which a spur track is connected must agree to serve the industry and approve the track construction plans.

Industry Commitment

The industry shall commit to a specific number of new jobs and to a specific level of rail usage during the first five years of operation.

When project tracks are located in a municipality where the NCDOT has a Transportation Safety Plan, the industry shall accommodate it in their project planning.

County and City Resolution

The project shall be consistent with local land use and transportation plans. The County and City shall provide a resolution supporting the project.

NCDOT Railroad Safety Pledge

The industry, EDC and local governments shall pledge to work with the NCDOT in a leadership role to make highway-rail improvements that address the safety needs of the public, contractors and employees.

Project Selection Criteria

The following is required for NCDOT funding consideration:

  1. Project Application
  2. County/city support resolution
  3. Industry commitment certification
  4. Railroad commitment certification
  5. Industry Safety Pledge

The NCDOT will use the following criteria and point system when evaluating rail industrial access applications:

Project Points
Employment in the first 2 years of operations
50-99 employees 4 pts.
100-199 employees 8 pts.
200-299 employees 12 pts.
300+ employees 16 pts.
Capital investment in the first 2 years of operations
$5-14 million 2 pts.
$15-24 million 4 pts.
$25-34 million 6 pts.
$35 million +/8 pts.
Annual rail carloads
50-199 2 pts.
200-349 4 pts.
350-499 6 pts.
500+ 8 pts.
Distressed County or Appalachian Regional Commission eligible
Yes 2 pts.
No 0 pts.
Shortline Preservation
Yes 2 pts.
No 0 pts.

Note: Points are awarded based on economic benefits. A minimum score of 8 points is required for project funding. (Y-2 pts.) (N-0 pts)

The percent of total project costs funded is based on the total points scored as follows:
35+ pts. 50%
24-34 pts. 45%
16-23 pts. 40%
8 -15 pts. 35%
Less than 8 points Not eligible for funding.

Project Purchases and Cost Reimbursements

Project purchases are to be competitive and contracts must be awarded to the low bidder. All procurements are to be conducted in accordance with NC General Statute 143-129. To receive reimbursement the Grantee must submit a payment invoice after the project is completed and after the track is in revenue service.

Reporting Requirements

Contingent Interest

The grantee may be required to repay the NCDOT its contribution to the cost of construction and materials less depreciation if: