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6/14/2001



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

I&M receives first RRIF loan, NRC says


U.S. Department of Transportation recently issued its first Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing (RRIF) loan to I&M Rail Link — $100 million designated to help the 1,385-mile regional recapitalize and invest more funds in infrastructure improvements, according to a news bulletin released by National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association Inc. (NRC).
RRIF, which was authorized by the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21), provides railroads $3.5 billion in loans (including $1 billion benefiting regionals and short lines) to improve infrastructure.
The loan program was held up for three years — after former President Bill Clinton signed TEA-21 into law June 1998 — by a variety of administrative obstacles, NRC said.
However, Federal Railroad Administration and Congress’ Office of Management & Budget recently established a better loan application process and methodology, enabling USDOT to process applications more quickly.
I&M Rail Link’s RRIF loan could help the regional do more than recapitalize — the railroad’s owner, The Washington Companies, might consider selling the regional. But to attract buyers, I&M first must fix track in Minnesota, Iowa and Missouri that was damaged by April and May Mississippi River floods.


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