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The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) now is accepting applications for grants and loans that will be available to help fund freight-rail improvement projects in the state.Applications are due Oct. 9 and the funds will be available starting in July 2016.Railroads, rail or port districts, private companies and local governments are eligible to apply for portions of about $1.85 million that will be available in grants and loans through two programs. Both state programs are administered through WSDOT to help fund freight-rail projects that create family-wage jobs and improve overall freight mobility, department officials said in a press release.The Freight Rail Investment Bank — which has $876,000 available — provides loans to small public projects. The Freight Rail Assistance Program — which has $970,000 available — provides grants to both public and private projects, specifically those deemed strategically important to state and local communities, WSDOT officials said.Selected projects will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, ease congestion on busy highways, reduce wear and tear on roads, and strengthen the state’s economy through domestic and international trade, they said.More information about the grant and loan programs is available at http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Freight/Rail/GrantandLoanPrograms.