Class III railroads, also called “short line railroads” are crucial to economic activity and transport of goods. The private and social benefits of maintaining short line railroads is well-established in the literature, yet the cost of doing so is often prohibitive for short line operators. Thus, several assistance programs have been established, most of which are operated by the state departments of transportation. This review of these programs indicated that there is no unique methodology for administering rail freight assistance programs and evaluating applications submitted for funding, and that most of them lack clear administrative details such as published project criteria, ranking procedure and post evaluation requirements. The objectives of this paper are to present a comprehensive review of the New Jersey rail grants program, identify the shortcomings of its evaluation process and provide recommendations for improving the program's project selection criteria and application ranking. It is found that the current scores used in the evaluation process cannot always clearly differentiate between applications for funding. To that end, using the results of a targeted survey of experts, an adjustment to the current review criteria and the corresponding scores is suggested for implementation.
- Application scoring
- Rail freight assistance
- Short line railroads
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)