July 29, 2022

Why letters to Governor Inslee urging an "expression of interest" to FRA for restoration of passenger rail service are important

US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is encouraging communities to apply for federal rail funding, as reported by KHQ Spokane.

But this is a competitive program. Other states will be applying. To ensure that Washington state gets our share, we need to follow a 2-step process in 2022.

Step 1: Ask the Governor to submit an "expression of interest" for the Federal Corridor Identification and Development Program.

Step 2: Ask your legislators to tell WSDOT to apply for the program later this year.

It is important that Governor Inslee ask the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to include the Seattle – Stampede Pass – Ellensburg - Yakima – Pasco - Spokane route in the routes selected.

Letters to Governor Inslee, such as the attached letters by Yakima Valley Conference of Governments and People for People, have a significant impact on whether or not our state pursues Federal grant opportunities for funding restoration of, and improvements to, intercity passenger rail service within Washington State.  Clearly, if our state does not pursue this once-in-a-lifetime funding opportunity (as alluded to in Secretary Buttigieg’s comments in the link above), Washington State is missing a golden opportunity.  Other states will grasp the Federal funding opportunities for passenger rail projects provided by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law…such as the enthusiasm being demonstrated by Texas, Florida, Virginia, the Southern Rail Commission, and others.  

Please share this information as you deem appropriate. Together, we can work to obtain better passenger rail service in Washington State. More letters to Governor Inslee regarding this subject would be helpful.

Thank you for your help to improve public transportation in Washington. We can make it happen with your support!