Local Information

Public’s help needed to get eastern Washington rail system on track

Thursday, October 23, 2014 - 08:28

Bob Westby
WSDOT Rail Office
2714 N. Mayfair
Spokane, WA  99207
509-324-6086
westbyb@wsdot.wa.gov

State-owned rail lines are critical components of Washington’s multi-modal transportation system. As part of an ongoing effort to improve the movement of goods produced on Northwest farms, officials from across the state are calling on eastern Washington citizens, businesses and communities to help make them better.

The Washington State Department of Transportation will seek the insights of farmers, rail-industry experts, regular citizens and anyone in between at three planning workshops this fall. WSDOT will host the workshops in Spokane, Ephrata and Clarkston.

Among others, WSDOT hopes to explore two important questions at the workshops:
• What improvements are needed on state-owned rail lines in eastern Washington to enhance farm-to-market commodity movement?
• What operational changes can be made to improve the value of these rail lines to eastern Washington shippers and producers?

WSDOT planning staff will consider infrastructural and operational challenges as they develop the Palouse River and Coulee City (PCC) Rail System Strategic Plan for the system. The strategic plan will be developed in partnership with the PCC Rail Authority.

“Our planning staff needs your ideas and help to get our rail systems on track,” said Barbara Ivanov, director of WSDOT’s freight systems division. “Please plan on attending one of these meetings.”

PCC Rail System Strategic Plan workshops

Thursday, Oct. 30
Ephrata City Hall
121 Alder St., Ephrata
12:30 – 2 p.m.

Thursday, Nov. 13
Spokane Regional Transportation Council
221 W. First St., Suite 310, Spokane
2:30 – 4 p.m.

Tuesday, Dec. 9
Clarkston City Hall
829 Fifth St., Clarkston
12:30 – 2 p.m.

The 297-mile PCC rail line consists of three branch lines that carry freight through four eastern Washington counties. Shippers in Spokane, Lincoln, Grant and Whitman counties distribute commodities across the rail system to and from the hubs of cross-country railroads. Last year, the PCC rail system carried 20 percent of state-grown wheat, while reducing 37,000 truckloads from Washington state roadways.

Accommodation requests for people with disabilities can be made by contacting the WSDOT Diversity/ADA Affairs team or by calling toll-free, 855-362-4ADA (232). Persons who are deaf or hard of hearing may make a request by calling the Washington State Relay at 711.

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