The Hawke's Bay Regional Council has approved spending $250,000 on a business case to see if repairing and leasing the railway line between Napier and Gisborne is feasible.
The line closed in December 2012 after it was severly damaged in storms, frustrating moves to rail-freight fresh produce from the Gisborne region.
The council's interim chief executive said KiwiRail had agreed to lease the line and the business case would look at whether it would be a good investment.
Ms Lambert said just under $5.5 million was set aside in the annual plan for investment in the line.
The council had until March next year to give KiwiRail an answer.