The Short Line Safety Institute is launching online hazardous materials training.
Short-line railways now have an option that will help them in the long run. The United States DOT has announced that it is expanding the Express Rail Rehabilitation and Improvement Funding (RRIF Express) program. The changes will reduce the time and costs associated with obtaining loans for projects to upgrade aging freight and rail infrastructure.
Here’s a look at what will be different:
- Loan amounts will increase from $ 50 million to $ 150 million;
- More types of projects will be eligible for funding;
- The option of financing the loan amount is increased from 40% to 75%; and
- There will be more flexibility in considering the different categories of environmental review.
Credit risk premium assistance has also been increased to 10% of the loan value, with a cap of $ 5 million per request.
The US DOT said letters of interest would be accepted until funding runs out. The U.S. DOT’s Build America office will be in charge of the program and will work with the American Short Line and Regional Railroads Association (ASLRRA) to provide educational training and technical assistance to those interested in applying for a loan.
“ASLRRA and the short line freight railways we represent are excited to roll out these enhancements under the name RRIF Express 2.0. The changes combine to form a strong and significant enhancement to the program and should allow the submission and selection of more short line projects for funding, ”said ASLRRA President Chuck Baker. “These projects will in turn allow short lines to better serve their thousands of shippers and the largely rural and small town communities they serve with safe, efficient, reliable and environmentally friendly freight rail service.” “