Herrera Beutler commends $16M DOT grant for WA rail corridor expansion

U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) successfully helped secure a $16 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to help complete the Port of Longview’s Industrial Rail Corridor Expansion in her home state of Washington. 

“Not only is the Port of Longview a major shipping gateway to the Columbia River that provides jobs in Cowlitz County, it also supports annual economic activity to the tune of nearly $3 billion across our region,” Rep. Herrera Beutler said on Nov. 16. “I worked to secure this critical funding for the Port of Longview to help increase capacity to move cargo efficiently, which gets products on the shelves and allows hard-working residents to support their families.”

The federal money is being awarded through DOT’s Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) Discretionary Grant program, through which Congress has dedicated nearly $8.9 billion for 12 rounds of National Infrastructure Investments to fund projects that have a significant local or regional impact.

Specifically, the Port of Longview’s Industrial Rail Corridor Expansion (IRCE) project will increase the port’s cargo capacity to meet growing customer demands and expand economic opportunity in southwest Washington State. Funds will be used to build upon the two-track IRCE by constructing a six-track bed adjacent to the current corridor and increasing the lengths of the existing two tracks to accommodate full-length unit trains, according to information provided by the congresswoman’s office. 

Rep. Herrera Beutler in March sent a letter to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg in support of the RAISE grant being put in place to fund the Port of Longview’s IRCE expansion. 

“The port has repeatedly shown itself as a steadfast partner and demonstrates itself as a reliable steward of public funds that has driven economic development for its community for decades,” the lawmaker wrote in the March 5 letter. “Once again, I am proud to offer my full support of a federal investment into the IRCE and urge your full consideration of the Port of Longview’s application.” 

Allan Erickson, Commission President of the Port of Longview, called the grant “a huge win for our community,” saying it will ensure the port continues to serve as an economic driver in the region.