By Victoria Fowler
Gazette Reporter 

Port votes 2-1 to pursue railroad grant application


October 10, 2019

At the Oct. 3 Port of Whitman County meeting, Chief Operating Officer Kara Riebold presented resolution to continue moving forward of the Freight Rail Assistance Program application.

The motion passed with a 2-1 vote.

According to Riebold, the resolution that is being submitted is practically identical to a resolution of a few years ago when an application was put in for the Port of Wilma.

“The resolution just authorizes the application,” Riebold said. “It’s a part of the attachments needed to move forward and the final application is due Oct. 18.”

FRAP is a grant program open to applicants in both the public and private sectors. The type of projects must be shown to maintain or improve the freight rail system in the state and benefit the state, according to Washington State Department of Transportation.

If approved, the grant will go toward repairs needed at the Port of Central Ferry.

At their Sept. 5 meeting port commissioners approved a motion to continue on with the application.

Port Chair Kristine Meyer asked if everyone was open to putting the resolution in motion today, or if they wanted to wait for the next meeting, scheduled for Oct. 17.

In reference to possibly holding off the motion till the next meeting, Port Executive Director Joe Poire said he doesn’t think there would be enough time if the commissioners waited.

“I just wanted to make it clear that I was acknowledging the process,” Meyer said. “I will leave it to the group. I will not make the motion myself.”

Port Commissioner John Love made the motion for the resolution.

Before the vote, Commissioner, Tom Kammerzell voiced his concern about voting on a resolution that was brought forward in the same meeting.

“Last time a resolution came forward regarding the property over in Pullman, we hadn’t had the first reading of that and that has turned out to be problematic in the view of the public in transparency,” Kammerzell said. “This is not good policy in regard to the public and transparency and communication.”

Meyer said that as the port has come together on this matter, the port has done its best to adhere to policy in as many instances as practicable as possible.

“There are situations in which we are forced to make tough choices but we are doing our best,” Meyer said.

As the motion was put forward, Love and Meyer approved, while Kammerzell opposed.

“I oppose because it was not brought before us at the previous meeting,” Kammerzell said.


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