Friday, October 1, 2010

Vancouver USA Port to Seek Fed Funds to Complete Rail Project

The governing board for the Washington-state Port of Vancouver agreed this week to apply for a federal loan to cover the remaining $76 million needed to complete a major expansion project of the port's rail infrastructure.

The three-member port board voted unanimously on Tuesday to seek the loan through the United States Federal Rail Administration.

The loan, if approved, will provide the final funding component to allow completion of the port's West Vancouver Freight Access project. The goal of the estimated $148 million WVFA project is to boost rail capacity and efficiency at the port by increasing the port's rail network from just under 17 miles to more than 44 miles.

In July, the port completed a rail loop project as the final phase of its $66 million Terminal 5 rail upgrade project--itself the first key component of the larger WVFA project.

Work began on the Terminal 5 rail loop began in November 2009 and was declared officially open by BNSF on June 29. Completed ahead of schedule and on budget, the rail loop marked the first major milestone under the West Vancouver Freight Access and Industrial Track Agreement, a deal reached between the port and BNSF in 2008 that provides the overall blueprint and timeline for the WVFA project. The entire WVFA project is expected to be completed some time in 2017.

When completed, the WVFA is expected to triple the rail car capacity of the port-area BNSF tracks.