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Washington county closer to acquiring BNSF corridor


King County, Wash., officials recently approved spending $3.8 million in earnest money to negotiate a purchase agreement with BNSF Railway Co. for a 47-mile rail corridor between Renton and Snohomish County.

During the next few months, county officials will conduct an appraisal to determine a fair purchase price. Most of the $3.8 million will be refunded to the county if the parties fail to reach an agreement.

“By preserving this critical transportation corridor through the heart of our major Eastside cities, we will retain an increasingly valuable public asset that will help us continue to accommodate our region's growth,” said King County Executive Ron Sims in a prepared statement. “Purchasing the rail corridor will give the public the opportunity to help determine what the ultimate uses should be.”

In late 2003, BNSF began seeking a buyer for the corridor because of the line’s increasing maintenance costs and declining revenue. In fall 2004, the railroad initiated corridor acquisition discussions with King County, which retains exclusive negotiating rights until Aug. 31.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 7/12/2005