Transportation Funding

Our Ask:

  • Harness the resources of the historic 2021 infrastructure law by fully funding programs and deploying funds efficiently and speedily.

Short line railroads are more important than ever…we need to make sure that we’re supporting them.

Pete Buttigieg, U.S. Secretary of Transportation, July 19, 2022

The Investment Infrastructure and Jobs Act (IIJA) is an Historic Opportunity to Address Short Line Freight Rail’s Rebuilding Backlog

In November 2021, President Biden signed into law the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). This legislation is particularly critical for the short line freight rail industry, providing opportunities for railroads to invest in game-changing infrastructure projects that allow short line freight railroads to drive economic growth, improve safety, implement innovative technologies, and advance the many environmental benefits of rail.

IIJA was enacted at a pivotal time for short line freight rail. More than $12 billion is necessary to allow short line railroads to modernize and meet the country’s freight needs. Short line railroading is one of the most capital-intensive industries in the country. Short lines invest on average 25 percent to 33 percent of their annual revenues into maintaining and rehabilitating their infrastructure. Short lines are often the custodians of expensive bridges and tunnels that were originally built by much larger railroads generations earlier and are now reaching the end of their useful lives.

IIJA dramatically increases resources for several programs critical to freight rail projects, including:

  • Consolidated Rail Infrastructure Safety Improvements Program (CRISI)
  • Nationally Significant Freight and Highway Projects Program (aka NSFHP or INFRA)
  • Local and Regional Project Assistance Program (fka TIGER/BUILD) (aka RAISE)
  • Railroad Crossing Elimination Program (RCE)
  • Port Infrastructure Development Program (PIDP)
  • Railway-Highway Grade Crossings Program (aka Section 130)
  • National Infrastructure Project Assistance Program (aka Mega)
  • National Highway Freight Program; and
  • The Rural Surface Transportation Grant Program

Because of resources in IIJA, short lines can upgrade thousands of miles of track to 286K-lb capabilities (the industry standard), rebuild and repair worn-out and outdated bridges, tunnels and rail to improve efficiency and ensure safer operations, and purchase lower emissions locomotive power.

Key Takeaway:

IIJA is a powerful tool to enhance safety, reduce supply chain bottlenecks, and advance solutions that will positively impact the already low environmental footprint of rail. ASLRRA urges Congress to fund programs in IIJA like CRISI fully and efficiently.