S-0842.2          _______________________________________________


                                 SENATE BILL 5519



State of Washington              52nd Legislature             1991 Regular Session


By Senators Newhouse, Matson, Hansen, Jesernig and Barr.


Read first time February 4, 1991.  Referred to Committee on Transportation.

Preserving the Stampede Pass rail line.

     AN ACT Relating to the Stampede Pass rail line; adding new sections to chapter 47.76 RCW; and declaring an emergency.




     NEW SECTION.  Sec. 1.      The legislature finds that the railroad line over Stampede Pass that connects Auburn in King County to Cle Elum in Kittitas County is a valuable transportation link between western and eastern Washington.  It is threatened with immediate abandonment by the owning carrier, and loss of the corridor would restrict future cross-state mobility and economic development options for eastern Washington.  The legislature recognizes the multiple use opportunities and values of this route, including fiber optics and other communication lines, a transportation corridor, recreational use, and a high-speed rail route.


     NEW SECTION.  Sec. 2.      The department of transportation shall monitor the actions of the rail carrier owning the railroad line over Stampede Pass.  After the owning rail carrier files an application with the interstate commerce commission to abandon the Stampede Pass rail line or portions of it, the department shall negotiate an agreement with the carrier to purchase the right of way and track elements.  Funds to purchase the right of way and track elements shall be expended from the essential rail banking account under the requirements of RCW 47.76.140.


     NEW SECTION.  Sec. 3.      The department may seek to reestablish rail service over any line that it acquires under this chapter.  By competitive bidding, the department may enter into a renewable agreement with a rail service provider or first class city, county rail district, or port district, which may contract for this rail service with a common carrier railroad subject to interstate commerce commission regulations.  The department shall ensure that the first class city, county rail district, port district, or rail service provider reimburses the state for the following costs:

     (1) Track and structure rehabilitation costs paid by the state, amortized over a fifteen-year recovery period;

     (2) Normalized maintenance of way costs;

     (3) Fire and weed control costs;

     (4) Liability insurance;

     (5) Appropriate interest determined by the state treasurer calculated on the state's purchase price.


     NEW SECTION.  Sec. 4.      An entity that acquires a rail right of way using funds from the essential rail banking account and subsequently uses the right of way for purposes other than rail service, shall pay an annual fee to the department.  The department shall establish by rule a fee structure that recovers costs to the extent practical but does not discourage appropriate uses of the right of way.


     NEW SECTION.  Sec. 5.      The department shall pursue all sources of funding, public and private, to assist with the costs associated with the Stampede Pass rail line.


     NEW SECTION.  Sec. 6.      Sections 1 through 5 of this act are added to chapter 47.76 RCW.


     NEW SECTION.  Sec. 7.      This act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety, or support of the state government and its existing public institutions, and shall take effect immediately.