The Port of Vancouver USA and its rail partners BNSF Railway and Union Pacific Railroad have substantially completed a $251M railroad access improvement project which significantly increases rail access in the port. The project creates a new rail entrance to the port, increases the port’s internal track miles from 16 to more than 50 (including a new loop track at the port’s Terminal 5 facilitating unit train transport) and increases rail capacity on BNSF and UPRR lines outside the port. According to port CEO Juliana Marler, the project “reduces rail congestion on the mainline and expands [port] capacity to 400,000 rail cars per year.”
The project was funded from no less than 10 sources, including a High Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Program Grant ($15M); Freight Mobility Strategic Investment Board Grants ($13.4); a Transportation Infrastructure Generating Economic Benefit (TIGER II) Grant ($10M); BNSF funds and in-kind contributions ($8.1M); port tenant lease payments and user fees ($6.2M); a Federal Railroad Administration grant ($3.9M); and an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Grant ($2.5M).
“It is a thrill to celebrate the West Vancouver Freight Access Project and the jobs it will bring. This project shows that the Port of Vancouver USA and the region is open for business as WVFA improves freight mobility dramatically and opens Southwest Washington to more trade opportunities,” Gov. Jay Inslee said. “Today is a great day of celebration for Vancouver and the entire state!”
The project is also spurring private investment in and near the port. Port tenants and neighbors, including United Grain Corp., Great Western Malting and Farwest Steel, have already invested more than $200 million in private funds to upgrade facilities and equipment and take advantage of increased rail capacity.