Support Growing for Economic Stimulus Funding to Rehabilitate the Clark County, Wash. Rail Line

January 8, 2009

VANCOUVER, Wash., Jan. 8 /PRNewswire/ — A groundswell of support is occurring for Economic Stimulus Funding to be allocated to rehabilitate the Clark County, Washington Rail Line. The “Clark County Rail Line Rehabilitation Project” is a critical infrastructure project which would result in immediate positive impacts to economic development, job creation and freight mobility in SW Washington State.

The Clark County Rail Line runs for 33 miles beginning from the BNSF mainline near Vancouver and then goes to Battle Ground, Brush Prairie, and Yacolt, ending at Chelatchie. This rail line is vital to economic development in SW Washington. Unfortunately, over the last 50 years, the rail line fell into disrepair and is badly in need of refurbishment.

However, several positive recent events have occurred to justify restoration of the line. For example, the Portland Vancouver Junction Railroad (PVJR) signed a long-term lease with Clark County in 2004 to operate the rail line and has already helped to significantly increase freight shipments (by over 1000%) in less than 4 years. The recent positive developments have caught the attention of several companies and there is considerable interest in locating new businesses (that would create many jobs) along the line if it can be upgraded.

Recently, a number of key organizations, companies and policymakers have taken notice of the progress that is occurring, and support has been growing quickly to obtain Economic Stimulus Funds to rehabilitate and restore the Clark County Rail Line. In particular, the SW Washington Regional Transportation Council recently included the rail line on its list of “ready-to-go” economic stimulus projects. In addition, several state legislators have recently sent letters to Governor Christine Gregoire requesting that economic stimulus funding be allocated for the rail line.

Specifically, there are two phases of track upgrades that need to be completed to rehabilitate this line. Phase 1 would upgrade the track to Class 2 (25 mph) condition between Vancouver and Battle Ground. The second phase would be to upgrade the line from Battle Ground to Chelatchie to a Class 2 (25 mph) track condition.

In summary, there is strong support for restoring the Clark County Rail Line as it will greatly enhance freight mobility, economic development and tourism opportunities in Clark County. It is estimated that approximately $12 million in funding is needed to complete the Phase 1 upgrades, and another $16 million will be needed to upgrade the Phase 2 portion of the line.

However, in the immediate term within Phase 1, $6.9 million in Economic Stimulus Funding is needed so that new rail can be installed on the first 5 miles of the line from Fruit Valley Road to 88th Street, as well as new sidings and interchanges between 78th Street and 88th Street.

For more information, please contact:

Eric Temple of the PVJR at 206-660-4731, Fred Abraham of Clark County at 360-397-2323, or Patrick Boss of the Clark County Rail Alliance at 360-397-7379.

This release was issued through eReleases(TM). For more information, visit http://www.ereleases.com.

SOURCE Clark County Rail Alliance

Source: newswire

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