Sen. Annette Cleveland, D-Vancouver, hosted a meeting for members of the bi-partisan, bi-cameral Washington State Rail Caucus at the Port of Vancouver to learn about and view projects that are improving rail freight and passenger mobility throughout the region.

“I was very pleased to invite members of the Rail Caucus down to Vancouver and the Port,” said Cleveland. “We were able to see firsthand how legislative investments in transportation infrastructure have expanded the capacity for economic development and job creation in our community.”

The West Vancouver Freight Access project at the Port of Vancouver is a multi-year project that is expected to be completed in 2017. The project uses state, federal and private funds to complete the proposed projects that will allow the port to expand their rail freight capacity. This will aid in reducing congestion on main rail lines, help create jobs, and further expand economic development in the region.

“At the meeting, our members also learned that many counties and cities across the state own and operate their own rail lines,” said Cleveland. “Clark County’s railroad includes a 33-mile rail line that runs from Vancouver to Amboy, which helps decrease our dependence on freight trucks to move goods through our region. As a caucus, we have much more to learn about how we can efficiently use and expand our state’s rail infrastructure so we can help meet our transportation mobility goals and reduce traffic.”

The Washington State Rail Caucus was created two years ago by members of both chambers and parties who saw the need for more focus on the state’s freight and passenger rail industry.

“This visit was one of many more to come that helps members of the Legislature from all parts of the state learn more about the transportation opportunities and challenges in other districts,” said Cleveland. “Building relationships among each other and with our community partners is how we will be able to come together to help move our state forward.”