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Policies and Procedures


The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) will help fund the cost of constructing rail tracks required to serve a new or expanding business as part of a statewide effort to attract new industry to North Carolina. The purpose of the program 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 industries are eligible for this program.

Eligible Projects

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

Allocation of Funds

Recipients may receive a maximum 50 percent of total project costs up to $200,000 (current maximum - subject to change).

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).


Applications for Rail Industrial Access funds are completed through the Rail Division Grants Management System and require a User ID and Password to access. Please fill out the Rail Division System Access Authorization form and return to Rail Security Coordinator Brian Gackstetter.

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. A Railroad Acceptance Form can be found on the Rail Resources site.

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. An Industry Commitment Form can be found on the Rail Resources site.

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. A Resolution Support template can be found on the Rail Resources site.

NCDOT Railroad Safety Pledge

The industry, Economic Development Commission (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. Forms for Industry Safety and EDC safety can be found on the Rail Resources site.

Property Easement Certification

The applicant shall certify that it has obtained all property easements necessary to allow access to the rail spur construction site and permit rail freight operations. A Property Easement Certification form can be found on the Rail Resources site.

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 N.C. General Statute 143-129 or 143-131 (formal or informal). Please refer to the Bid Procurement Requirements document for more detail. To receive reimbursement the grantee must submit a payment invoice after the project is completed and after the track is in revenue service.

Procurement Requirements
State Funding Bidding Requirement
>$30,000 Materials or construction contracts – Informal
>$90,000 Materials - Formal
>$500,000 Construction - Formal

Professional Services Procurement

Requirements for professional services must be publicly announced and chosen from licensed consultants based on qualifications.

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:

Project Selection Criteria

The following is required for NCDOT funding consideration:

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

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

Points are awarded based on economic benefits. A minimum score of 8 points is required for project funding.

The percent of total project costs funded is based on the total points scored as follows:
35+ points 50%
24-34 points 45%
16-23 points 40%
8 -15 points 35%
Less than 8 points Ineligible