The North Carolina Department of Transportation’s (NCDOT) Rail Industrial Access Program uses state funds to help construct or refurbish railroad spur tracks required by a new or expanding company. Program funding is intended to modernize railroad tracks to ensure effective and efficient freight deliveries.

Project funding is contingent upon a company’s receiving application approval prior to making a decision to locate or expand its facility in North Carolina. In addition, an award can be made only after confirmation of the availability of matching funds from private and/or local sources.

Local governments, community development agencies, railroads and companies themselves are eligible for funds to improve rail access. Approval depends on a variety of factors, including the number of potential new jobs that will be created, the amount of capital investment, rail use and local economic conditions.

Grant recipients may receive a maximum of 50% of total project costs, subject to a $200,000 limit per project. Program funding is an incentive to encourage companies to locate or expand in North Carolina versus another state. Projects considering in-state locations only or those not anticipated to yield a significant economic impact do not qualify for funding.

Eligible Use

Eligible project costs include:

  • Engineering and design
  • Site preparation, including grading and drainage
  • Track construction
  • Switches
  • Grade crossings and signals

Ineligible project costs include:

  • Relocation of utilities
  • Acquisition of right-of-way
  • Unloading facilities

Basic Requirements for Eligibility

The NCDOT’s Rail Division evaluates each application and makes recommendations for funding to the N.C. Board of Transportation. The Board determines the amount of funds that will be awarded. While project applications are accepted on a rolling basis, the NCDOT must receive a completed application by the first of the month, in order for a project to be considered for Board approval the following month. For a complete list of policies and procedures, please visit the NCDOT’s Rail Industrial Access Program website.


For more information about the North Carolina Department of Transportation Rail Industrial Access Program, contact the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina at (919) 447-7777 or by filling out our online form.

The Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina does not award or administer this incentive. All economic development incentives are awarded and administered by the North Carolina Department of Commerce.