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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Railroad Rehabilitation & Improvement Financing (RRIF)


  • Low interest rate 
  • Interest does not accrue until proceeds are drawn 
  • Flexible amortization 
    • Up to 35 year repayment period 
    • Deferrable for 5 years after substantial project completion
  • No pre-payment penalty

Program Overview

The RRIF program was established by the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) and amended by the Safe Accountable, Flexible and Efficient Transportation Equity Act: a Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008, and the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. Under this program the Department of Transportation is authorized to provide direct loans and loan guarantees up to $35.0 billion to finance development of railroad infrastructure. Not less than $7.0 billion is reserved for projects benefiting freight railroads other than Class I carriers.

The funding may be used to:

  • Acquire, improve, or rehabilitate intermodal or rail equipment or facilities, including track, components of track, bridges, yards, buildings and shops, and including the installation of positive train control systems;
  • Develop or establish new intermodal or railroad facilities;
  • Reimburse planning and design expenses relating to activities listed above;
  • Refinance outstanding debt incurred for the purposes listed above; and
  • Finance transit-oriented development 

Direct loans can fund up to 100% of a railroad project with repayment periods of up to 35 years and interest rates equal to the cost of borrowing to the government. 

Eligible borrowers include railroads, state and local governments, government-sponsored authorities and corporations, limited option freight shippers that intend to construct a new rail connection, and joint ventures that include at least one of the preceding.

Please contact Will Resch ( for more information. 


*******Important Notice: Some projects may require a "value for money" analysis to be eligible. Learn more here.*******


Monthly reports on Letters of Interest and Applications are available on the Project Information Page


Search project profiles here



RRIF Credit Risk Premium (CRP) Cohort Definition

As required by the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2019, and the Save Our Seas Act of 2018, the Department of Transportation, in consultation with the Office of Management and Budget, has defined the term "cohorts of loans" as applicable to RRIF loans executed prior to the enactment of the FAST Act.  Click here for a list of each RRIF loan within each cohort.