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9/25/2007



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Washington state DOT seeks applicants for interest-free loans to help fund freight-rail projects



The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) is seeking proposals from railroads, ports, rail districts, private companies and local governments that are interested in competing for interest-free loans through Rail Bank, a freight-rail capital program the state’s legislature created in April.

From 2007 to 2009, the state will provide $2.5 million for the program. Funds might increase to $5 million in a future biennium. WSDOT also is accepting applications for grants because the state’s “ability to make grants as well as loans may change during the period of the application,” according to a prepared statement.

The state will provide a loan up to $250,000 for a freight-rail capital project, such as the construction of a multi-modal center; purchase of rolling stock; improvements to terminals, yards, fuel stations or docks; modifications to sidings, bridges, tunnels or culverts; and upgrades to communication systems. The applicant must provide matching funds totaling at least 20 percent of project costs.

Proposals and applications must be submitted to WSDOT and post-marked no later than Oct. 25. The department will provide the state legislature a prioritized list of projects by Dec. 1. If approved by the state, funds will be distributed next year.

“The goal of Rail Bank is to assist with the funding of smaller capital rail projects,” said Scott Witt, the state’s rail and marine director.


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