Manweller secures money for Inland Northwest Rail Museum in capital budget

Last Thursday night, the Washington State Legislature reached an agreement and passed legislation to address the state Supreme Court Hirst decision that impacted water law and property rights across the state. With the agreement on a Hirst fix, lawmakers also passed the long-awaited, bipartisan 2017-19 capital budget.

The $4.17 billion capital spending plan addresses a variety of projects across the state and in the 13th Legislative District, including $170,000 Rep. Matt Manweller secured for the Inland Northwest Rail Museum, just outside of Reardan.

“The funding will be used for an elevator to allow disability access to the second floor, and paved parking, and additional electrical service for the elevator and upper floor of the rail museum,” said Manweller, R-Ellensburg. “This is a great project for Lincoln County. The museum will preserve the history and heritage of our rail industry. I look forward to working on the other phases as this project moves forward.”

Future phases for the museum include a “Streetcar Gallery” to house the last restored Spokane Street car, plus additional display space and  covered storage for the collection of more than 20 rail cars and engines.

The first phase has already included a roundhouse surrounding a railroad turntable, now in place at the museum site. There is also access from the Eastern Washington Gateway Railroad with a spur from the main line onto the property, plus five display tracks.

Manweller has taken an active interest in rail issues since he was elected to the Legislature. He co-founded the state’s Legislative Rail Caucus, a bicameral, bipartisan group dedicated to improving rail transportation in Washington.

“Rail is the backbone of our export industry and one of the main reasons Washington has been a global-export leader for more than a century. There would be no Washington as we know it today if we did not have rail to get our products and goods to global markets efficiently and affordably,” said Manweller. “I plan on continuing to focus on rail infrastructure and this museum is a great reminder of how important rail was and can be in the future.”

The capital budget, Senate Bill 6090, passed by a vote of 95-1 in the House of Representatives and 49-0 in the Senate. The governor signed the bill on Friday.


Washington State House Republican Communications