Skip to main content

Agency Alert

Welcome to the new IDOT home page.  Our location has changed, please update any bookmarks.

Rail Freight Loan Program

The purpose of the Rail Freight Loan Program is to provide capital assistance to communities, railroads and shippers to preserve and improve rail freight service in Illinois. The primary role of the program is to facilitate investments in rail service by serving as a link between interested parties and channeling government funds to projects that achieve statewide economic development.

The program generally provides low interest loans to finance rail improvements.  Under special circumstances grants may be considered.

If you are looking for the Competitive Freight Program click here.  


The focus of the program is on projects with the greatest potential for improving access to markets and maintaining transportation cost savings, by using state participation to leverage private investments to foster permanent solutions to rail service problems. Metrics that contribute to overall economic development will be used to assess the eligibility of projects.


Requests for loans through the Rail Freight Loan Program should include the following information:

  • General description of the project and a location map depicting the beginning and ending points.
  • Benefits expected from the project (e.g., job creation and retention, transportation saving, etc.).
  • The name of the industries involved, and the name, title, address and telephone number of the principal contact for the project.
  • An engineer's cost estimate, if available.

Application Process

Currently the Rail Freight Loan Program is not accepting applications for grants. Only applications for loans will be considered.

To initiate an application for a loan from the Rail Freight Loan Program the company or organization requesting the financial assistance should submit a written request on company letterhead to:

Bureau Chief, Freight Rail Management
Illinois Department of Transportation
69 W. Washington St., Suite 2100
Chicago, IL 60602

The initial request letter should include:

  • Name of the applicant (company/organization requesting financial assistance)
  • Project Location
  • Name, Title, address, telephone number and email address for the person who will be the applicants principal contact for the project
  • Description of the proposed project
  • Drawing or sketch of proposed improvement
  • Estimate of total project cost and amount of financial assistance being requested from the Rail Freight Program
  • Proposed project schedule
  • Benefits expected from the project (e.g. job creation/retention, transportation savings, etc.)

After the initial request letter is received by IDOT the applicant will be sent two forms to complete and return that provide more detailed information about the applicant’s business, the proposed project and the benefits to be achieved.

Need Help?

Bureau Chief, Freight Rail Management
Illinois Department of Transportation
69 W. Washington St., Suite 2100
Chicago, IL 60602