CONNELL, Wash., Nov. 15, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — The Connell Rail Interchange Coalition is indicating that nearly 40 letters have been sent from various Counties, Ports, Cities, EDC’s, companies, railroads and other entities to Governor Jay Inslee, the Office of Financial Management and to various legislators in support of the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) budget submission (for the 2023-25 biennium) for $15 million for the Connell Rail Interchange Project.
The $15 million submission includes $10 million in funding already appropriated by the Legislature in 2015, plus an additional $5 million in the 2023-25 biennium for an actual total of $14.5 million that would be available, reflecting the approximately $500,000 in funds that have already been expended for design and engineering since 2015. The $14.5 million in funding (if approved) would fully complete this important infrastructure project.
The Connell Rail Interchange is a key rail interchange in Eastern Washington where the Columbia Basin rail line intersects with BNSF Railway’s Lakeside Subdivision line, which runs between Spokane and Pasco, Wash. The Columbia Basin rail line goes through the heart of the Columbia Basin in eastern Washington and serves Moses Lake, Wheeler, Schrag, Warden, Othello, Royal City, Bruce, and Connell in Grant, Adams, and Franklin Counties.
Over the past several years, a significant amount of economic development and growth has been occurring in communities on the Columbia Basin rail line, especially in Grant and Adams Counties. Consequently, the Columbia Basin rail line has become one of the busiest rail short lines in Washington State, hauling thousands of loads of various agricultural, industrial commodities and other cargo annually for 60 active rail shippers in the Columbia Basin, which employ nearly 7,000 people in Grant and Adams Counties.
The Connell Rail Interchange was built nearly 100 years ago, and the configuration of the interchange is outdated and inefficient. Consequently, the Connell Rail Interchange needs to be upgraded and improved to accommodate current and future growth in rail cargo that is flowing to and through Connell.
As the track and infrastructure design for the Connell Rail Interchange Project is 100% completed, this important infrastructure project is ready for construction.
As a result, the nearly 40 letters express strong support for WSDOT’s budget submission to OFM for $15 million for the Connell Rail Interchange Project in the 2023-25 biennium and urge Governor Inslee as well as the Legislature to include this critical funding in their 2023-25 proposed budgets.
SOURCE Connell Rail Interchange Coalition