Name this state:

In 2023, it enjoyed double-digit growth in the construction, retail and information technology sectors1. It’s home to the nation’s third fastest growing technology hub2. And with over $728 billion in goods and services3, it’s the 13th largest economy in the U.S.4

If you said Virginia, you’re right. And helping to deliver on the Commonwealth’s economic promise is our successful freight rail network. Freight rail plays a vital role in transporting the goods that people use every day – in Virginia and beyond. Freight railroads account for nearly 40% of U.S. long-distance freight — more than any other mode of transportation.

Virginia’s freight rail program, managed by the Department of Rail and Public Transportation, drives economic growth – and so much more. It enhances competitiveness for the Port of Virginia – one of the busiest ports on the East Coast. By strategically channeling freight through the rail network, DRPT maximizes the efficiency of our state’s existing rail transportation infrastructure.

“Without DRPT, our main line wouldn’t have been revitalized… and once it was, it opened up a whole new revenue stream. Not only for our retail businesses, but for neighboring businesses as well.” – Neil Houff, President, Houff Corporation

Next stop, clean air.

Along the way, rail reduces 1.5 billion miles of truck travel on Virginia’s interstate highways every year. Rail is four times more fuel efficient than trucks, which translates into a 75% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

Fewer trucks also means greatly reduced highway traffic for Virginia’s citizens, and a savings of over $2 billion in crash and congestion related costs every year.

That’s why Virginia continues to invest in freight – for the long haul.

Getting your business on track.

The Department of Rail and Public Transportation also invests in businesses – possibly including yours. The Rail Industrial Access (RIA) program provides grants of up to $750,000 to connect new and expanding businesses to the freight rail network.

Rail transport can offer many benefits to your business, including new economic opportunities to connect across the nation and beyond. Businesses utilizing the RIA grant program often enjoy other forms of growth and revenue. For instance, in addition to their own enterprises, businesses can act as transloading facilities for other businesses or create new connections to international markets through the Port of Virginia.

Who is eligible to receive a RIA Grant? A better question may be, who isn’t! The RIA program has awarded grants to commercial and industrial enterprises, municipal and county governments, local economic development departments and even railroads.

To learn more about the Rail Industrial Access program, visit