Proposed state budget includes rail funds
Last updated 1/26/2023 at 12:55pm
CONNELL — Gov. Jay Inslee’s proposed 2023-25 budget includes about $15 million for the Connell Rail Interchange Project.
The budget includes $10 million previously approved by the Legislature in 2015 as well as an additional $5 million in the upcoming biennium.
Approximately $500,000 have already been spent for design and engineering on the project that would upgrade the 100-year-old railroad interchange.
Local officials said the funding is an important step to improve the growing rail activity through Connell where the Columbia Basin rail line intersection with Burlington Northern Santa Fe’s Lakeside Subdivision line.
The interchange connects rail services from Spokane to Pasco, as well as other areas including Moses Lake, Wheeler, Schrag, Warden, Othello, Royal City, Bruce and Connell in Grant, Adams and Franklin counties.
Officials said “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.”