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Northwest Rail Projects Receive Federal Money

People who commute by rail between Portland and Seattle could benefit from political maneuvering  around the Great Lakes region.

The governors of Ohio and Wisconsin are opposed to rail projects that would have cost their states $1.2 billion, so U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Thursday the money will go to states eager to have it.

Washington is getting $160 million. Oregon will get about $1.5 million.

Dave Rosenfeld of the Oregon Public Interest Research Group, says it’s good news.

Dave Rosenfeld: “You know, when you kick a gift horse in the mouth, you end up seeing its backside and so those governors shouldn’t be surprised to see the money leave their state. And fortunately for Oregon and Washington our governors see the benefits of investing in a 21st century transportation system. And so we’re going to benefit from that.”

Washington State’s Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond says the money will be used to further improve passenger rail service between Portland and British Columbia.

The exact projects will be determined later, but she says they could include more locomotives, rail cars and track improvements.