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BNSF Railway Co. yesterday announced plans to spend $125 million on maintenance and capacity improvement projects in the state of Washington this year.Projects include the construction of two 7,000-foot-long receiving and departure tracks at Delta yard in Everett, the expansion of an automotive distribution facility in Orillia to support traffic growth and signal upgrades for positive train control implementation. The railroad also expects to surface and/or undercut about 2,800 miles of track, and replace 175 miles of rail and 110,000 ties.The Washington projects are part of BNSF's record $4.3 billion capital spending budget for 2013."[Our] capital investments in Washington will help ensure our network is prepared for growing demand for freight rail," said BNSF Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Matt Rose in a press release. "We are focused on investing to meet our customers' expectations and on expanding capacity where growth is occurring."Meanwhile, the city of Sioux Falls, S.D., held a public meeting last week to review a draft environmental assessment report for the Rail Yard Redevelopment Project involving BNSF.The Class I's downtown yard occupies an area that the city has identified as a central location for economic redevelopment efforts. The project calls for relocating the yard and removing tracks to make the downtown land available for redevelopment while maintaining BNSF's operations.The city is accepting public comments until Sept. 4 on the draft report, which describes the project's environmental, social and economic effects, as well as its location and design. The South Dakota Department of Transportation and Federal Highway Administration previously approved the draft report.
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