Rail transport is one of Idaho’s hidden gems

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(File photo/MARY MALONE) Idaho Rep. Russ Fulcher, right, and his regional director Tim Kastning, during an April 2019 visit to Sandpoint on a trip through North Idaho.

Did you know that we have yet another hidden treasure in the Gem State? And, it’s not what you’re thinking.

It is the ability to transfer goods with efficiency, speed, and in an environmentally friendly way. Amazingly, a train can move 500 miles of freight on just one gallon of fuel. Each year, 1.4 million loads of freight travels through Idaho on the BNSF railway system — a significant contributor to our economy.

In April, I visited the BSNF Hauser Refueling Facility in Sandpoint, ID. The BSNF team briefed me on the Sandpoint Junction Connector Project, their plan to reduce railway congestion by introducing a second parallel track.

Currently, freight trains are required to idle while waiting to cross the existing single-track railroad. Adding a second track will reduce this wait time and significantly improve the performance of our Idaho freight traffic. As a result, local motorists will see shorter wait times as well as an improvement with the flow of freight and passenger trains throughout the region.

As the consumer demand for goods rises and our local and national economies continue to grow, it is important that we increase investments in rail infrastructure to keep commerce running smoothly.

Rail transport benefits the economy by providing jobs and moving goods to and from businesses in Idaho. The BNSF Railway is the busiest rail in Idaho and employs around 1,349 Idahoans.

I support the planned freight rail infrastructure in Idaho and the necessary expansions to advance transportation for all Idahoans.

Republican Russ Fulcher is the representative from Idaho’s First Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.

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