Friday, August 6, 2010

Grays Harbor Port Secures More Rail Funds

The Port of Grays Harbor has secured another $4 million toward their goal of raising more than $15 million to construct additional rail storage tracks at the port's marine terminal complex.

The port is seeking to build the rail system to handle the thousands of automobiles and nearly one million tons of domestic agricultural and liquid bulk products which move through the port each year.

The rail project, known as the Pacific Northwest Coastal Export Corridor Rail Improvements project, will also increase cargo handling capacity at the port, which according to port officials, would result in additional export and import trade volumes projected to reach more than $1 billion in value by 2015.

Port officials have said that the main challenge for the project is securing funding.

Senior Washington state Sen. Patty Murray, Chair of the Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development Subcommittee recently announced that the Port of Grays Harbor would receive $2 million for the construction of auto terminal rail tracks to handle the port's growing volume of auto exports.

Murray's news followed on the heels of an announcement that the port would receive a $2 million interest-free loan from the Washington State Community Economic Revitalization Board for Phase 1 of rail improvements.

“President Obama has emphasized that increasing American exports is vital to stimulating our national economy and the Port of Grays Harbor is positioned to play a major role for American exports, but rail is critical to our customers’ and our community’s growth,” said Port of Grays Harbor Executive Director Gary Nelson. “Senator Murray’s announcement, and the commitment of the CERB financing, means we are on track to construct the additional rail needed to meet today’s demand and accommodate future cargo growth. This news has positive short-term and long-term impacts.”

Port officials will next apply for United Sates Department of Transportation TIGER II funds for the remaining funding required for build out of the rail project.