Thou shall build and refurbish. Moses Lake, Wash., received some very good news this week when the Federal Railroad Administration approved a revised Northern Columbia Basin Railroad project and announced it will provide $9.9 million in federal funding.
The project will combine track maintenance and new track construction. About 3 miles of track crossing Stratford Road and heading west into port property will be upgraded. Five miles of track will be constructed and will connect the Port of Moses Lake to the BNSF railroad mainline at Connell via the Columbia Basin Railroad’s terminal in Wheeler. When complete, rail traffic will be able to bypass the current line that runs through downtown Moses Lake. It also will direct more rail traffic to industries and businesses at the port.
In 2015, the Port of Moses received a $20.9 million state grant, so the total amount of funds available for the project is now over $30 million. The cost of the project, however, has increased since it was originally laid out over a decade ago, so the final segment of rail to customers in the port will not be built until additional funding is available.