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The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) is accepting applications for $12 million in state-funded grants and loans to help cover the cost of freight-rail improvement projects, the department announced Monday.Railroads, port districts, rail districts, private companies and local governments are eligible to apply for part of $12.04 million in grants and loans available through two programs administered by the department. The Freight Rail Investment Bank provides loans to small public projects, while the Freight Rail Assistance Program provides grants to both public and private projects — specifically projects strategically important to local communities and the state, according to a WSDOT press release.The investment bank has $5 million available in loans, while the assistance program has $7.04 million available for grants, a portion of which comes from the Connecting Washington revenue package passed by the state Legislature.The funds will be available in July 2017. Selected projects will demonstrate how freight-rail shipping eases congestion on highways, reduces wear on state roads, strengthens the state's economy through domestic and international trade, and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.Applications for both programs are due July 15.
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