Thursday, April 8, 2010

Washington Senator Talks National Freight Strategy, Port Funding

During a visit to the Washington State Port of Vancouver on Tuesday, Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) said that in order to meet President Barack Obama's call to double United States exports within five years, multimodal freight transportation must become a national priority. To this end, she announced plans to push fellow federal lawmakers for the creation of a national freight strategy that includes significant funding for port infrastructure projects.

One project specifically mentioned by Cantwell was the Vancouver port's $140 million West Vancouver Freight Access project, which the port currently requires $50 million to $70 million to complete. Port officials said that if Cantwell succeeds in her national freight strategy plan, they will immediately request $25 million for the freight project.

The port had hoped to tap into President Obama's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act stimulus funding to move the project forward, but ultimately garnered $2.5 million for the project from the nearly $800 billion allocated nationwide.

Cantwell said she had not yet determined how much infrastructure money she would ask to be made available through such a national freight strategy plan.