THE Port of Vancouver in the US state of Washington will receive US$2.3 million from the federal government to help finance the expansion of rail and road services to the port.
The west Vancouver freight access project is one of four southwest Washington transportation priorities approved in the FY2006 spending bill. The project is designed to help the port handle anticipated growth in international trade, including a projected doubling of grain exports by 2025, while reducing traffic congestion in downtown Vancouver and neighbouring communities by including construction of a bypass road to provide continuous circulation on roads leading to the port.
The freight access project also includes an alternative rail line that is expected to increase capacity for the entire Pacific Northwest rail network. The total number of rail cars entering the port is expected to triple, from 40,000 to 120,000, over the next 20 years and rail traffic through the Vancouver terminal is projected to increase from 63 to 90 freight trains per day, a statement from port authorities said.
The funding for the freight access project will be used for completing an environmental impact assessment in line with the requirements set out in the US National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The port timeline calls for completion of the NEPA process in mid-2007, with construction slated to begin in 2008. This development comes amid earlier announced plans to develop another 500- acres on adjacent property over the next five years to generate a projected $1 billion in local business revenue and $130 million in tax revenue.
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