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The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) late last week applied for a total $43 million in federal grant dollars to fund infrastructure projects, including a new passenger terminal for ferry travelers and upgrades to more than 12 freight-rail bridges.The state applied for three grants through the U.S. Department of Transportation's (USDOT) seventh round of the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program, which focuses on projects that generate economic development and improve transportation, WSDOT officials announced in a press release. The applications request funding for three projects, two of which are related to rail service. They are:• a project to repair one steel bridge and three timber bridges, and replace 11 timber bridges on the Washington state-owned Palouse and Lewiston Branch Rail Line between the cities of Marshall and McCoy. The P&L Branch of the Palouse River & Coulee City Rail System provides a critical link between a planned container loading facility and the McCoy Grain Terminal, WSDOT officials said. The department and co-applicant Port of Whitman are seeking $5.2 million for this project.• a project to replace the aging Mukilteo ferry terminal and relocate it to the site of a former U.S. Air Force tank farm, which is east of the existing terminal. The new terminal will improve connections to an adjacent commuter-rail station. WSDOT is seeking $20 million for this project.June 5 was the deadline to apply for the grants under the TIGER VII program, which has $500 million in available funds. The USDOT is expected to announce grant awards in late summer or early fall.
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