Cheney Free Press -

By Lee Hughes
Staff reporter 

Spokane airport awarded $11.3 million facility grant


Last updated 11/14/2019 at 9:28am

SPOKANE COUNTY — Local and federal officials announced on Tuesday, Nov. 6, a $11.3 million transportation grant award for the construction of the Rail-Truck Transload Facility near Spokane International Airport.

The facility, to be located east of Craig Road between McFarlane and Thorpe Roads, will improve freight mobility for shippers and manufacturers, and create up to 7,000 jobs, generate $77 million in tax revenue, and produce $773 million in total economic impact, according to airport projections.

The facility is expected to handle as much as 1.3 million tons of annual rail capacity.

In a press release, Larry Krauter, CEO of Spokane International Airport and Chairman of the West Plains/Airport Area Public Development Authority, called the grant a “turning point” of strategic investment by the federal government and local partners that will transform the regional economy.

The grant comes from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Better Utilizing Investment to Leverage Development (BUILD) grant program.

The new rail-truck transload facility will improve multi-modal freight movement by extending existing rail lines about three miles to the airport to provide space for train loading, offloading, and circulation, as well as additional room for freight truck movement.

“I helped to create the BUILD grant program ten years ago to fund important projects like this,” Sen. Patty Murray (D-Bothell) said in a press release. “And as Spokane continues to grow as a regional leader in commerce and trade, I’m glad to see this impactful investment flow to the Spokane Airport to bolster its rail and freight transportation capabilities.”

Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers (R-Colville) and Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Edmonds) both praised the project.

Cantwell said the project would help drive Spokane’s manufacturing and shipping economy, and allow the airport to transform vacant land into a freight hub.

“That vital connection will mean less congestion on our roads and more efficient transportation for goods, promoting economic growth and job creation in the West Plains,” Cantwell said.

McMorris Rodgers called the Spokane International Airport a community leader transportation and economic development.

“I’m so thankful for their leadership and excited to see them use this grant to continue to connect Eastern Washington with the rest of the world,” she said.

Nancy Vorhees, chair of the Airport Board, noted that the land is located within an Opportunity Zone, Foreign Trade Zone and Community Empowerment Zone. 

“The table is being set for very significant growth of commerce in our region and we are thankful to our many local and state government partners as well as to our business community for their incredible support,” Vorhees said.

Lee Hughes can be reached at


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