Thursday, October 28, 2010

More Federal Funding for WA Rail on the Way

WSDOT just announced via press release and their twitter feed (@WSDOT) that in the latest round federal rail investments for passenger rail WA State received $31 Million.

It looks like most of the money will go towards:
  • Retrofitting King Street Station in Seattle
  • Building a permanent station in Tukwilla
  • Building bypass passing lanes near Mt. Vernon which will help with congestion issues.
Here is more directly from the WSDOT press release:

More than $18.2 million will be spent to seismically retrofit King Street Station in Seattle and its clock tower, as well as restore the station’s main hall and upgrade electrical, mechanical and plumbing systems. This work will transform the busy and historic station and adjacent tracks and platforms to meet current and future needs of expanding intercity and commuter rail service. The effort is a partnership by the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), Amtrak, the city of Seattle, Sound Transit and BNSF Railway.

The grant also contributes $9 million to Sound Transit’s Tukwila Station project, a new train station for use by Sounder commuter trains and Amtrak Cascades intercity trains. The project converts the existing temporary platform to a modern full-service station.

“Making these improvements will help give passengers the reliable intercity train services that allow them to choose transit over driving, and help us meet our state goals for reducing how much we drive,” Washington Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond said.

In Mount Vernon, $3.3 million will be spent to build sidings – passing lanes for trains – to improve speed and reliability for freight and passenger trains. The remaining $400,000 will be spent developing a State Rail Plan integrating freight and passenger service – a move that makes Washington more competitive in winning future rail funding.

This latest round of grants comes from two Federal Railroad Administration programs. A total of $2.4 billion from the 2010 DOT Appropriations Act was made available in August to continue the development of high-speed intercity passenger rail corridors across the country.

This is great news for passenger rail service on the Cascade's Corridor.  It is rewarding to see the Feds investing in State's like Washington where we've made a significant investment in passenger rail on the State and Local levels already.

Here is Senator Murray's Quote from the release:
"This funding will help create and save good paying jobs as we work to modernize out state's rail infrastructure," said Senator Patty Murray. "In addition to helping commuters get where they're going this investment will also benefit the movement of freight rail in our state that is so critical to our economy." 

Full release can be found here:

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