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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Washington state DOT reviews grant, loan applications for 21 freight-rail projects


The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) currently is reviewing applications seeking $7.75 million in state funding available through grant and loan programs for freight-rail improvement projects.

The WSDOT’s freight-rail assistance programs target rail projects that increase economic development, boost domestic and international trade, and reduce highway congestion and maintenance costs.

“These grant and loan programs are growing in demand, and we are seeing stronger and more substantial project proposals that will help improve freight mobility across the state,” said Scott Witt, the state’s rail and marine director, in a prepared statement.

In the last biennium, WSDOT received 14 applications for grants and loans; on Aug. 20, the department received a total of 21 applications seeking more than $9 million in grants through the Freight Rail Assistance Program and more than $2.8 million in loans through the Freight Rail Investment Bank. Applicants include the Columbia Basin Railroad, Tacoma Rail, Cascade and Columbia River Railroad, Puget Sound and Pacific Railroad, and ports in Longview and Vancouver.

WSDOT plans to provide the state legislature a prioritized list of projects by Nov. 1. If approved, funds will become available after July 2011.