Wash. receives $31M in federal funds for passenger, freight rail projects

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced $31.1 million for the State of Washington to improve intercity passenger and freight rail service on the Amtrak Cascades line.

“The investments we’re making in the Cascades line will improve reliability and service for passengers while putting people to work on crucial rail projects,” said Secretary LaHood. “It’s a win-win because these investments will also help create jobs and grow the economy by building and maintaining railways with American-made materials.”

A highlight of the rail dollars includes $16.1 million for design, environmental review and construction work to stabilize and improve track structure along the rail line between Blaine, Wash., and the Columbia River Bridge in Vancouver, Wash. The upgrades along this route aim to increase service reliability by reducing the number of closures and delays due to inclement weather; and $15 million for construction of a new, rail access route to the Port of Vancouver, including grade separation at an existing rail crossing which has acted as a significant choke point for rail traffic. This enhancement aims to substantially minimize delays affecting freight trains and Amtrak’s Cascades service. The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) and the Port of Vancouver are contributing a combined total of $22 million to this project. Construction is expected to begin in July 2012.

For more information, visit http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/passengerrail .

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For related Tacoma Daily Index coverage, click on the following links:

WSDOT optimistic about BNSF rail agreement (08/01/11) — http://www.tacomadailyindex.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=88&cat=23&id=2015300&more=0

Wash. receives $15M in Fla. high-speed-rail funding (05/10/11) — http://www.tacomadailyindex.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=88&cat=23&id=1972900&more=0

Wash. to receive $145M in Ohio, Wis. high-speed-rail funding (04/08/11) — http://www.tacomadailyindex.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=88&cat=23&id=1955558&more=0

Wash. seeks additional $120M in high-speed-rail stimulus money (04/04/11) — http://www.tacomadailyindex.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=88&cat=23&id=1952547&more=0

Agreements secure $590M in federal passenger rail funding for Wash. (02/28/11) — http://www.tacomadailyindex.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=88&cat=23&id=1932725&more=0

Wash. awarded $161M in federal high-speed rail funds (12/09/10) — http://www.tacomadailyindex.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=88&cat=23&id=1890351&more=0