Thursday, March 10, 2016

Seattle Port Selling Rail Corridor

By Mark Edward Nero

The Port of Seattle is selling a 12-mile stretch of the Eastside Rail Corridor between Woodinville and Snohomish to Snohomish County for $3.5 million. The two sides’ governing bodies agreed to the sale earlier this week.

Under the county’s plans, freight operations are expected to continue on the former BNSF Railway line.

On March 8, Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers and Port of Seattle Commission President John Creighton applauded the newly formed agreement, which is expected to protect 42 miles of rail corridor.

“The Port of Seattle is pleased that we could bring the 42-mile long rail corridor under public ownership and preserve it for generations to come,” Seattle Port Commission President John Creighton said. “We are thankful that we were able to partner with local governments up and down the corridor in preserving a valuable resource for the benefit of everyone in the region.”

The county initially agreed to the transaction back in 2013, but put the purchase on hold in April 2015 due to concerns over the condition of the property, as well as right-of-way issues. The port estimates the line will require up to $10 million in maintenance and improvements over the next decade.

“We are very pleased that the Snohomish County Council and the Port of Seattle Commission have approved the acquisition of the eastside rail corridor,” Somers said. “We will keep this corridor under public ownership and are committed to preserving this rail with trail asset.”