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Report: more train traffic expected locally with proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal
For the Reporter
The Puget Sound Regional Council released a study today that identifies how much train traffic could increase if the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal near Bellingham were built.
The study found that Everett, Auburn, Algona, Pacific and Fife would be affected by more trains servicing the proposed terminal, but also pointed out that as the economy grows demand for more freight and passenger rail service would increase, even if the proposed terminal is not built.
"If our trade-dependent economy is going to generate more family wage jobs and if we're going to keep the jobs we have now, our state and the railroads need to invest in critical rail improvements," said Commissioner Bill Bryant, who represents Washington's ports on the Puget Sound Regional Council executive board.
The study also determined the impact of increased rail traffic could be mitigated if grade separations – over or underpasses – were constructed at nearly a third of the region's 101 rail crossings. More than $100 billion in cargo passes through our region's ports each year, the council said, and ports are strong advocates for expanding rail capacity and service to the Pacific Northwest.
"Increasing rail capacity and service in and out of the Pacific Northwest is essential to our global competitiveness, that means it's critical to keeping and expanding jobs here in Washington," Bryant said. "We also need to pay attention to the safety, environmental and traffic impacts on our communities."