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Port of Longview commissioners Wednesday signed an agreement with Cowlitz County for a $500,000 grant for the port’s North Rail Connection project, which the port says is key to expanding tenants and employment along the waterfront.
Work is slated to start this summer.
The grant will fund about 10% of the $4.4 million project, which will add nearly 5,000 feet of new track, realign about 1,500 feet of track and increase overall rail capacity, according to the port’s grant application.
“(The county commissioners) are looking out for us and want to help us continue to grow and prosper,” said Port Commission President Allan Erickson. “I appreciate that relationship, and I appreciate the fact that they’ve recommended we receive this $500,000.”
The money comes from a pool of state tax money designated for economic development in rural counties. The rail upgrade qualifies because it will support growth at the port to attract new tenants, add local jobs and increase revenue for local businesses, according to the grant application.
The port is at 70% to 80% of its current rail capacity “with little ability to handle new cargo,” the application adds.
“Since the completion of the Industrial Rail Corridor in 2004, cargo volumes through the port have soared nearly 600%. With nearly 12,000 rail cars moving throughout the port’s rail system annually, the project is a high priority necessary to accommodate existing business and attract growth,” the application says.
This article first appeared on tdn.com
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