$16M from Feds to Help Control Washington Rail Mudslides

The federal government is providing more than $16 million to help control the mudslides that often cancel passenger train service in Washington during rainy weather.

The U.S. Department of Transportation earlier turned down a $10 million state request for mudslide planning and engineering money, saying national dollars should be devoted to “shovel-ready” projects. State passenger rail manager Ron Pate tells The Seattle Times that the state, BNSF Railway and other parties worked out a new plan, devoting a possible $10 million of the $16 million for actual construction of slide-prevention projects. The new plan won Federal Railroad Administration support.

Last winter’s rains caused a record 90 cancellations of Amtrak passenger trains. The worst-hit areas tend to be around Mukilteo, north of Seattle, where cliff and hill failures can block the spectacular rail tracks along Puget Sound.