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Published on Friday, January 22, 2016

Promoting railroads through GMA

Sen. Don Benton (R-Vancouver) and Rep. Liz Pike (R-Camas) have introduced companion bills SB 6334/HB 2468 that would promote “freight rail dependent uses” in the Growth Management Act (GMA). The provisions of the bill raise some concerns.

It allows "freight rail dependent uses" in rural (and urban) areas and then defines them as “buildings and other infrastructure that are used in the fabrication, processing, storage, and transport of goods that can be shipped on the railroad tracks" The breadth of that definition could arguably allow almost any manufacturing/industrial/storage use. It further authorizes counties to authorize “all necessary government services" to serve those freight dependent uses. It is unclear at this point what government services are anticipated here, but could include utilities.

We know there are cities interested in supporting their rail dependent industries. We would like to hear your thoughts on this bill. Please contact Carl Schroeder with feedback.