U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), the Ranking Member on the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, this week announced that Puget Sound and Pacific Railroad (PSAP) will receive $1,374,399 from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) for the Elma Junction Safety, Capacity, and Efficiency Project. The federal funding will be used construct a new double-ended siding immediately south of Elma and install two radio-controlled power switches at the Elma Wye.

PSAP provides rail services in southwest Washington, connecting the region to the national rail network. Three PSAP lines pass through the City of Elma to move freight to and from Hoquiam and the Port of Grays Harbor to the west, and Bremerton and Bangor to the north. However, the current track configuration causes trains to occupy several at-grade crossings through downtown Elma, causing significant traffic delays.

“The Elma Junction Safety, Capacity, and Efficiency Project will construct a new double-ended siding immediately south of Elma and install two radio-controlled power switches at the Elma Wye. This will allow PSAP trains to operate without occupying any downtown at-grade crossings and the addition of the radio power-controlled switches will allow PSAP trains to move continuously through Elma without stopping. This project will decrease congestion in Elma, improve safety and improve freight efficiency,” Senator Cantwell wrote in a letter of support for the grant in June. 

The federal funding comes from the Federal Railroad Administration’s Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) program, which provides funding for capital projects that will improve passenger and freight rail transportation systems in terms of safety, efficiency, or reliability.