Sen. Judy Warnick’s bill, Senate Bill 5529 which returns ownership of the 26 mile state-owned railroad tracks to Port of Royal Slope cleared the Senate. The legislation gives the port authority five years to contract an operator for the rail line and gives supplies from the recent rehabilitation projects paid for by the state Department of Transportation to the port.
“The community has been working to find a sustainable plan to operate the railroad and I’m glad that we can give ownership back,” Warnick, R- Moses Lake said. “This will be an opportunity to boost economic development and preserve businesses in the area.”
The port, overseen by three elected commissioners, passed a resolution in 2013 asking the Legislature to transfer ownership of the rail lines. The line is owned by the state Department of Transportation after being purchased in 1993. Upgrades to the rail lines permit the transport of goods.
“We greatly appreciate all the hard work Senator Warnick has put in to getting this legislation passed,” said Port of Royal Commissioner Alan Schrom. “We’re excited and looking forward to restoring safe, reliable, and sustainable rail service to Royal City!”