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News / Business

Port of Longview rail expansion to break ground in August

By Caleb Barber, The Daily News
Published: March 16, 2024, 6:00am

LONGVIEW — The Port of Longview will receive $500,000 in federal funding to expand its rail network to meet growing demand for shipping products.

The funding, secured by 3rd District Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez, was awarded to the port to compensate for a 40% increase in cost for the project, which has so far received $18.5 million in federal funding and $5 million in state no-interest loans.

Dan Stahl, the port’s CEO, said this investment comes at a critical time, as the project’s permitting process is nearing completion and a groundbreaking is scheduled for this August.

Why expand?

Trains entering or leaving the port need to be broken up to fit on the rail tracks, which slows the loading and unloading process and drives up costs for the freight company, a representative from the port said, so lengthening the tracks and adding car storage will drive down costs and time constraints for the freight companies and port tenants.

The project includes lengthening two existing rail tracks by 1,000 feet for a total of 8,500 feet, adding two new 8,500-foot rail tracks and constructing a six-track rail embankment adjacent to the current rail corridor.

About 2.5 acres of land still need to be acquired before the project can start, according to port representatives, including a tract owned by Cowlitz County Waste Management and a portion of a pond owned by Pacific Fibre Products Inc.

The pond will be filled partially with dredge material from the river.

Sen. and Port Commissioner Jeff Wilson and state Reps. Jim Walsh and Joel McEntire expressed their support for this project in a letter to Stahl.

Growing demand at the port has led to rail congestion, and this expansion would help the port and its community meet growing demand for products being produced in this region, wrote the legislators, Cowlitz Economic Development Council president Ted Sprague and previous Longview Mayor MaryAlice Wallis.

The new rails will extend to Berth 4, for which the Port is still looking for a tenant.

The Port of Longview Industrial Rail Corridor Expansion has received financial assistance through multiple federal funding streams, including a $16 million RAISE grant for construction and a $2.5 million right-of-way acquisition award from Congress. The port also got a $5 million interest-free loan through the state Legislature.