On June 2nd, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements grants.  The department awarded more than $368 million for 46 projects in 32 states and the District of Columbia, including two in the state of Washington; the Pierce County Rail Capacity and Reliability Improvement Project, as well as the Pacific Northwest Rail Corridor Reliability.

By statute, a minimum of 25% of the funding must go to rural areas, and the grants have nearly double the required investment in rural communities.  Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg says the goal is to make sure U.S. goods move more smoothly across the country, and offers rural communities many benefits.

“Along the way, it means a lot for rural communities in terms of everything from relocating rail lines, which sometimes means getting rid of crossings, to just having better flow, which means fewer block crossings in your community. And if you're involved in agriculture exports, having those trains moving more quickly and more smoothly, more predictably, is a big deal. If you got nothing to do with Ag, it still means that this is one of the things we can do to make goods more affordable in stores because we have better supply chains. So, I'm a big believer in what we can do by investing in these rail improvements.”

Buttigieg added it’s all about better connecting America.

“We’re just really excited about these opportunities. Project by project, we are improving connections across the country, and you may see this coming to a community near you, you may not even notice some of the improvements," Buttigieg continued.  "But when a railway gets fixed 1,000 miles away, that just might mean goods are more affordable at your local store. And so, we're trying to connect everything up together which is, of course, our job as the Department of Transportation, and just thankful that we have the dollars to work with to really get this done.”

Click Here for a list of all projects receiving funding.


If you have a story idea for the PNW Ag Network, call (509) 547-1618, or e-mail gvaagen@cherrycreekmedia.com

More From PNW Ag Network