Rail-Related Economic Development

  • Michigan's rail system is critically important to the state's economy, handling about 19 percent of the tonnage that is moved. The Michigan Department of Transportation has two loan programs, Freight Economic Development Program and Michigan Rail Loan Assistance Program (MiRLAP), that were established to help capitalize on this asset by preserving the system and providing access to it.

    Questions? Contact Nikkie Johnson, Project Manager, at 517-335-0939.

Freight Economic Development Program

  • Program OverviewTo support rail infrastructure improvements that facilitate economic development in Michigan, the Freight Economic Development Program provides low-interest loans that can be converted to grants. Eligible applicants include rail users locating or expanding in the State and local government entities interested in helping these businesses. Loans are competitive, and are evaluated based on a number of factors, including the number of jobs that will be created or retained; expected impact on the local economy; and the viability of other transportation options.

    Applications are accepted at any time of the year.

    Loan details:

    • 50% of eligible project costs
    • 2% below prime interest rate
    • Forgiveable, based on shipping volumes
  • Freight Economic Development Application PDF icon

Michigan Rail Loan Assistance Program (MiRLAP)

  • Program Overview

    To support rail infrastructure preservation and improvements, the Michigan Rail Loan Assistance Program provides no-interest loans to enhance the efficiency or safety of existing freight rail service. Eligible applicants include railroads, local governments, economic development corporations, and current or prospective rail users. Eligible projects include any type of construction or rehabilitation work that is associated with in-place track materials and related structures such as bridges and culverts. Loans are competitive, and applications are evaluated based on program goals and public benefit.

    The 2018 Call-for-Projects ended Oct. 31. The next is planned for summer 2018.

    Loan details:

    • 0% interest
    • Up to 90% of eligible project costs
    • Up to 10-year repayment period
  • 2018 MiRLAP Application PDF icon