Washington state seeks federal funds to rail rehab

Written by Jenifer Nunez, assistant editor

Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) has applied for six Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants, which would improve highways, ferries and freight rail.


WSDOT also submitted three applications this week for planning proposals that support economic development, environmental resiliency and integrated transportation choices. Of the $600 million available in TIGER grant funds, $35 million is dedicated to transportation-facilities planning.

WSDOT’s proposed capital projects include the rehabilitation of section of shortline rail on the PCC System to provide a link with other rail and market options.

Projects that would benefit from the grants include:

Connecting the Inland Pacific Hub Multimodal Centers to the Global Marketplace –In partnership with Highline Grain, LLC, WSDOT will rehabilitate 6.9-miles of the Central Washington Branch of the state-owned Palouse River & Coulee City Rail System. Rehabilitating this section of shortline railroad will provide a critical link between BNSF and the Highline Grain Terminal, a privately owned facility. It also provides a link with the Geiger Spur, a Spokane County-owned asset serving an industrial area designated for future growth. This project will not only support the existing industries in the area but also greatly improve the opportunities for future growth by providing the option of reliable rail transport linking the west plains area of Spokane with world markets. WSDOT is seeking $6 million to construct this project.

Greening Interchanges with Multimodal Redevelopment; Seattle to Lynnwood – This planning study will deliver plans to integrate three elements: Transit oriented development; accessibility enhancements for transit, cyclists and pedestrians and environmental enhancements for future light-rail stations at three I-5 interchanges. Plans produced from this study will guide future public and private development to improve multimodal connections between where people live, work and go to school and provide better access for people with special transportation needs and economically disadvantaged populations. WSDOT is seeking $720,000 to fund this planning effort.