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The Washington State Legislature has approved a new 2015-17 budget that includes transportation funding for key freight-rail infrastructure projects at the Northern Columbia Basin, the Port of Warden and the Connell rail interchange.The Northern Columbia Basin Railroad project received $20.9 million in funding to enhance and improve rail access to industries in the northern Columbia Basin area near Moses Lake, Wash. The project calls for expanding freight-rail service to the Moses Lake area from the Wheeler Road Corridor to the Port of Moses Lake's Grant County International Airport.The project is integral to economic opportunities in central Washington, according to a press release issued by the Columbia Basin Railroad.The Port of Warden received $2 million in funding to construct a mile of new rail storage siding tack along a Columbia Basin line. The project is designed to increase rail capacity and enhance rail service within the port.The Connell rail interchange project received $10 million in funding to upgrade and improve the key interchange in eastern Washington, where a Columbia Basin Railroad line intersects with BNSF Railway Co.'s Lakeside Subdivision line that runs between Spokane and Pasco, Wash. Built nearly 100 years ago, the interchange is outdated and inefficient, Columbia Basin Railroad officials said. The upgrade will help accommodate economic development growth in cities and towns along the line, especially in Grant and Adams counties, they said.
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