Washington State Rail Systems to Receive $76.8 Million in Upgrades


Thanks to the Efforts of Senator Maria Cantwell, on August 20th the U.S. Federal Railroad Administration announced that our state Department of Transportation here in Washington will receive almost $76.8 million dollars for the design and construction of upgrades along the Palouse River and the Coulee City Railroad and will allow for two new electric cars for Tacoma Rail.  The new electric cars will replace two diesel cars to help reduce dangerous emissions and greenhouse gases in the state.

Senator Maria Cantwell who sits on the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation championed these projects and had written letters to the Federal Railroad Administration to obtain these funds from the bipartisan infrastructure bill that was passed in November of 2021.

“Thanks to this funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, our State of Washington wheat will reach local and international markets faster. The railroad is a critical part of the Washington Grain Train program, which serves over 2,500 farmers and moves tons of grain to ships at deep-water ports destined for overseas markets,” Sen. Cantwell said.

Both grants come from the Consolidated Rail and Infrastructure and Safety Improvements Program, also known as CRISI.  The U.S. Department of Transportation is providing nearly $1.5 billion in CRISI grants to 70 different projects across the nation this year with $1 billion of that coming from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

The Washington State Department of Transportation will work to design the upgrades including efforts to make the rail system handle heavier, faster rail cars and to handle larger loads and more extreme weather conditions. It will also help replace lightweight worn rail and rotten rail ties.

For the two new electric cars Tacoma Rail will also install on-site charging infrastructure.

“This Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding will allow Tacoma Rail to operate the first ever zero-emission locomotives in the State of Washington, which is great news for everyone who works or lives near the Port of Tacoma. This will reduce maintenance costs and eliminate 1,240 pounds of diesel particulate matter each year to improve local air quality,” Sen. Cantwell said.