The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) is planning some improvements to
the Palouse and Coulee City (PCC) Rail system, as part of an effort to support area farmers, and is looking for input on them.

The draft PCC
Rail System Strategic Plan
 highlights the benefits of the rail
system and lists recommended maintenance and repair projects and polices to
boost farm-to-market rail transportation.

The plan indicates that private and public investments in the rail system have not kept pace with preservation and maintenance needs. Trains must run at slower speeds in some areas due to rail conditions. The strategic plan includes a list of capital-project priorities, including several that use lowest-cost options to maximize investments.

The 297-mile PCC rail line consists of three branch lines that carry freight through Spokane, Lincoln, Grant and Whitman counties. Shippers distribute commodities across the rail system to and from hubs of cross-country railroads. The PCC rail system carried 20 percent of state-grown wheat in 2013, saving 37,000 truckload trips on Washington state roadways.

Comments on
the draft plan will be taken until Tuesday, March 31.  Comment
are available online and may be submitted through the link or emailed

Once finalized, the plan will be used to help develop future funding, policy and planning goals.

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