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The NCBR Project restores rail to the Port of Moses Lake/Grant County International Airport (GCIA) and provides new rail service to over 2,000 acres of industrial-zoned lands adjacent to the GCIA and along the Wheeler Industrial Corridor in Moses Lake.

Lack of rail service has been a barrier to attracting new industry, expanding existing industries, and attracting agricultural producers.  Limited cost-effective shipping options have been an impediment to local companies shipping products to/from West Coast ports and the Midwest. The Port/GCIA has competed for and lost several major national projects in recent years due to the lack of freight rail access.

The NCBR Project consists of three distinct rail segments that will be owned by the Port and operated by the Columbia Basin Railroad:

  • Segment 1 provides five miles of new rail service along the Wheeler Industrial Corridor
  • Segment 2 provides three miles of new rail service to lands adjacent to the Port/GCIA by extending an existing, unused rail line
  • Segment 3 upgrades and reopens the existing, unused rail line that restores rail service to the Port/GCIA and connects Segments 1 and 2


The $30.3 million NCBR Project received a $19.9 million allocation in the 2015-2017 Transportation Revenue Package approved by the Washington State Legislature.  The funding, allocated to the Port and administered by the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), covers engineering, right-of-way acquisitions, environmental documentation/permitting, and partially funds construction.  Additional grant funding is currently being pursued for the final construction phase.

Estimated Overall Timeline

  • 2017 – Preliminary engineering, and environmental documentation/permitting completed
  • 2018 – Final engineering, environmental mitigation, and right-of-way acquisitions completed
  • 2019-2021 – Construction (pending final funding)

Projected 20-Year Benefits

  • Brings new business, industry, and economic development to the region
  • Contributes to potential creation of 13,000 to 19,000 new jobs at the industrial area adjacent to the Port/GCIA
  • Preserves existing business, industry, jobs and related investment in central Washington
  • Re-routes trains out of downtown Moses Lake and off aging rail infrastructure
  • Saves existing businesses and agricultural producers $67 million in shipping costs
  • Diverts 76 million truck miles to rail, saving $6 million in road maintenance costs, reducing congestion, and improving public safety
  • Provides $2 of public benefit for every $1 invested in the project

Public Involvement/Support

The NCBR Project enjoys broad support from federal, state and local elected officials, community groups, business organizations, local governments, and other stakeholders throughout the region. A project Environmental Assessment (EA) was finalized by the federal Surface Transportation Board (STB) and WSDOT in 2009 that responded to public and agency comments, clarified information, and set forth mitigation measures.  Additional public and agency comment opportunities will be available during the project’s environmental permitting stage; federal, state and local permits will be required for Segment 1 and Segment 2.

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NCBRP Latest Update November, 2018