Study highlights need to invest in rail to support jobs, economy
Comprehensive new study shows the proposed Gateway Pacific terminal will bring more than 2,500 jobs to Northwest Washington, but will require upgrades to state's rail system.
OLYMPIA — A study released last week about the potential impact of the proposed Gateway Pacific export terminal at Cherry Point underscored the need for new investment in Washington's rail infrastructure.
The economic evaluation of the proposed export terminal, released by the Puget Sound Regional Council, notes that while the project will increase rail traffic and bring a corresponding increase in auto and truck wait times at crossings, non-coal freight and passenger rail traffic is expected to nearly double by 2035, even without the project.
Job creation must remain a top priority as Washington continues its slow and uneven recovery from recession. The Gateway Pacific terminal would support 2,100 temporary construction jobs and 430 permanent jobs in a corner of the state that has not enjoyed the same rate of recovery as the central Puget Sound region.“As demand for goods continues to grow, so too will rail traffic. This is a sign of a strong economy, and BNSF will make the necessary private investment in our infrastructure to handle all of the business that travels on our network,” said Johan Hellman, executive director of state government affairs for BNSF Railway.
"Washington is the most trade-dependent state in the nation, and the Gateway Pacific project will be an important expansion of our export capacity," AWB President Kris Johnson said. "This new study highlights the need to invest in the region’s transportation infrastructure if Washington hopes to continue growing in the coming years. There are challenges, but the rewards for meeting them are compelling: Jobs, spending, and new tax revenue.”
About the Association of Washington Business
Formed in 1904, the Association of Washington Business is Washington’s oldest and largest statewide business association, and includes more than 8,100 members representing 700,000 employees. AWB serves as both the state’s chamber of commerce and the manufacturing and technology association. While its membership includes major employers like Boeing, Microsoft and Weyerhaeuser, 90 percent of AWB members employ fewer than 100 people. More than half of AWB’s members employ fewer than 10. For more about AWB, visit www.awb.org.