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By Victoria Fowler
Gazette Reporter 

Port continues support for WSDOT rail grant


February 13, 2020

On May 24, 2018, the Port of Whitman County made a motion to support Washington State Department of Transportation with its Consolidated Rail Infrastructure Safety Improvements (CRISI) and Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) grant application for rehabilitation work on the PCC Rail System.

The port committed to a $15,000 match and a letter of support from the port for the WSDOT application.

Last Thursday, Feb. 6, Debbie Snell, port properties and development manager, reported to the port commissioners WSDOT was just now awarded the grant which was submitted in 2018.

At least 25 percent of CRISI grant funding is used for rural projects like highway-rail grade crossing improvement projects.

“It has just taken that long to award the grant,” Snell said. She said that Bob Westby of WSDOT Rail sent her the most recent grant application package and it was dated 2018.

The port was just one of 11 private and public partners that committed to matching funds for this grant. The funds committed ranged from $1,000 to $100,000.

Westby contacted the port a few weeks ago letting them know the grant had been received by WSDOT and the grant contract, committing the $15,000 match, had been mailed to the port for Port Executive Director Joe Poire's signature.

Snell mentioned that this $15,000 match has been in the port budget since the port committed to the match in 2018.

“We are asking commissioners to authorize the executive director to sign the agreement with WSDOT for the $15,000 port match for the PCC rehabilitation project,” Snell said.

The total PCC rehabilitation project cost is $11,333,963.

Washington State Rural Rail Rehabilitation received $5.66 million from CRISI/BUILD along with $5.33 million through WSDOT and $335,500 in cash match from private and public partners.

“Unfortunately, they submitted the grant based on costs at the time (2018),” said Port Commissioner Tom Kammerzell.

“It's sure untimely of them getting around to it, but good that we got it.”

The motion was approved on a 3-0 vote to allow the executive director to sign the $15,000 match.


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