The Freight Rail Infrastructure Improvement Program (FRIIP) is one of two freight rail assistance programs WisDOT currently administers (also see the
Freight Rail Preservation Program [FRPP]). Wisconsin’s original rail assistance program was created in 1977 to help preserve freight rail service during an era when widespread railroad bankruptcies and line abandonments threatened the availability of rail service in Wisconsin.
Initially, the program was limited to grants to local governments because of constitutional restrictions on state assistance to railroads. But in 1992, Wisconsin voters approved a constitutional amendment that allowed state money to fund railroads as a type of internal improvement.
In 1992 the FRIIP loan program was added to the state’s rail assistance program. FRIIP loans enable the state to encourage a broader array of improvements to the rail system, particularly on privately owned lines. It also provides funding for other rail related projects such as loading and trans-loading facilities. Statutory information about Wisconsin freight railroad assistance can be found in
Wis. Stats. 85.08.
The FRIIP provides up to 100% loans for rail projects that:
- Connect an industry to the national railroad system
- Make improvements to enhance transportation efficiency, safety, and intermodal freight movement
- Accomplish line rehabilitation
- Develop the economy
Since 1992, $148 million in FRIIP loans have been awarded. Today's available funding is from the repayment of prior loans.
Railroad Program Analyst
Railroads and Harbors Section