WEST CHESTER (August 15, 2019) – Applications are now being accepted for Pennsylvania’s Rail Transportation Assistance Program (RTAP) and the Rail Freight Assistance Program (RFAP), state Senator Andy Dinniman announced.

The programs, which are administered by PennDOT, provide support for investments in rail infrastructure to stimulate economic development. With 65 operating railroads, the Commonwealth has more than any other state and also ranks near the top in total track mileage.

“Pennsylvania’s more than 5,600 miles of rail infrastructure is vital to our transportation system and our economy,” Dinniman said. “Through these grant programs, investments and upgrades, we can continue to support business growth, economic development, and job creation, all while easing traffic congestion and enhancing safety on our local roads and highways.” 

The deadline to apply is August 30, 2019, at 4:00 p.m. 

The two programs vary slightly in terms of requirements and funding. However, the maximum funding for eligible projects under both programs is up to 70 percent of the total project cost.

RFAP is funded by the state Multimodal Fund created by Act 89, Pennsylvania’s Comprehensive Transportation Funding Plan. It awards grants for investments in freight rail infrastructure, with the intent of stimulating economic development through new or expanded freight service, while also preserving and improving freight infrastructure already in existence. 

Organizations eligible for the rail freight grants include freight railroads, freight railroad-served shippers and economic development entities. Projects must involve maintenance and/or new construction of rail freight or intermodal infrastructure. They may apply for funding through either the RFAP or RTAP programs.  An RFAP project may not receive more than $700,000 in funding or more than $250,000 for the new construction portion of the project.

RTAP receives its funding from bonds through the Capital Budget Grant Program.  It is only available to applicants with a line item in the Capital Budget Act. Interested applicants should contact their state legislators, who can assist in adding their project as a line item in the Capital Budget Act. Funding for an RTAP project may not exceed the specified amount in the line item and is subject to approval by the State Legislature.  

Within the last year alone, $23.5 million in funding was awarded to 27 rail freight projects statewide to help create and sustain 255 jobs across the Commonwealth. Two of those projects were in Chester County: Mittal Steel USA Railways was awarded $1.6 million to rehabilitate a railroad bridge and make other improvements and East Penn Railroad received $500,000 in funding to rehabilitate 27 miles of track on the Octoraro line. 

To apply,  previous grantees should visit the “Rail Freight Programs” link on PennDOT’s Bureau of Rail Freight, Ports and Waterways’ website. New applicants should visit the “Guest” link on that website.

For more information regarding eligibility, funding or requirements visit