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Rail News: Intermodal

Freight-rail constituents form coalition to bolster Great Northern Corridor

Government and port representatives from seven states and other freight-rail constituents have formed the Great Northern Corridor Coalition to promote regional cooperation, planning and shared project implementation to improve freight-rail movements from the Pacific Northwest to Wisconsin.

Coalition partners include BNSF Railway Co.; ports in Everett, Grays Harbor, Longview, Pasco, Quincy, Seattle, Tacoma and Vancouver, Wash.; the Port of Portland, Ore.; Port of Northern Montana; Washington Public Ports Association; and departments of transportation in Idaho, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, Washington and Wisconsin.

Each year, more than 203 million tons of freight are transported over the Great Northern Corridor, which runs from the Puget Sound and Lower Columbia River regions to Chicago through Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin. It would take about 4.8 million long-haul trucks to move that much freight each year, coalition officials said in a press release.

The coalition is working to strengthen the corridor to promote economic growth for neighboring communities and accommodate the demand for safe, efficient and environmentally sound transportation services, they said.

"This interconnected system of rail, highways and ports is vital to shippers in Washington State and other states along the Great Northern Corridor," said Port of Quincy Commissioner Patric Connelly.

Currently, a Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) analysis is under way to identify opportunities to improve operations and infrastructure along the corridor. The study is being conducted by Olsson Associates, Parsons Brinckerhoff and The Beckett Group, and is funded by the Federal Highway Administration Multistate Corridor Operations and Management Program and coalition partners.

The corridor will be strengthened based on the SWOT analysis results via projects designed to improve multi-modal transportation and operations, coalition officials said. The analysis will be completed by fall, at which time identified projects and initiatives will begin, they said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 2/5/2014