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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Rail Line Relocation & Improvement Capital Grant Program (RLR)


In order to assist state and local governments in mitigating the adverse effects created by the presence of rail infrastructure, Congress authorized the Rail Line Relocation and Improvement Capital Grant Program (RLR) in 2005 through the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU). However, Congress first appropriated funding for the program FY 2008. SAFETEA-LU also directed FRA to issue regulations to establish and implement the program. That final rule was published in the Federal Register on July 11, 2008.


Only states, political subdivisions of states (such as a city or county), and the District of Columbia are eligible for grants under the program. Grants may only be awarded for construction projects that improve the route or structure of a rail line and:

  1. are carried out for the purpose of mitigating the adverse effects of rail traffic on safety, motor vehicle traffic flow, community quality of life, or economic development; or
  2. involve a lateral or vertical relocation of any portion of the rail line.

Pre-construction activities, such as preliminary engineering, design, and costs associated with project-level compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), are considered part of the overall construction project and are also eligible for funding. However, activities such as planning studies and feasibility analyses are not eligible for funding.


From FY 2008 through FY 2011, Congress appropriated a total of $90,104,200 for the program. Funding has been provided to grantees through both Congressionally-directed spending and competitive grant opportunities. Congress did not appropriate any funding for the RLR in FY 2012 and all available funding has been awarded.

For more information on previously selected projects, click the appropriate links below.

Rail Line Relocation Funding History
Fiscal Year Appropriation Awards
Congressionally-Directed Competitive*
2008 $20,040,200 $5,135,200 $14,315,300
2009 $25,000,000 $17,100,000 $19,446,415
2010 $34,532,000 $24,519,200 $10,012,800
2011 $10,532,000 N/A $16,890,985


*Note: The competitive funding appropriated in FY 2010 and FY 2009 was combined into one solicitation and that some funding appropriated in a given fiscal year may have been awarded in subsequent competitions.

Last updated: Wednesday, December 4, 2019