House approves Pike bill to ensure short-line rail protection in three counties under Growth Management Act

A measure that would ensure access to short-line railroads and development for freight rail under the state’s Growth Management Act (GMA) in Clark, Yakima and Spokane counties gained House approval Tuesday, 83-14.

House Bill 1504 was authored by Rep. Liz Pike, R-Camas.

“We have 23 short-line railroads in Washington state. This bill is needed because the availability of rail-served land in Clark County and throughout the state is scarce. Experts testifying for this bill told us thousands of new manufacturing jobs are turned away every year because under the state’s current GMA laws, these parcels don’t exist,” said Pike. “In Clark County, we have a prime opportunity to offer rail access from the existing Chelatchie Prairie Railroad. This bipartisan measure would allow our short lines to work for us by attracting new manufacturing jobs and ensuring new businesses have rail access in order to get their goods to market.”

The measure would authorize governments within Clark, Yakima and Spokane counties, that are planning under the GMA, to adopt development regulations to permit resource lands adjacent to short-line railroads to be developed for freight rail purposes, subject to certain conditions.

The bill also provides for a 10-year study by the state Department of Commerce, beginning in 2022, that would describe job gains, tax impacts and impacts to resource lands resulting from freight-rail dependent uses.

The measure now heads to the Senate for further consideration.


Washington State House Republican Communications