I have lived in Bellingham almost my entire life and I clearly remember train traffic at a much greater frequency than we have today. I believe this idea that an increase of rail traffic, specifically coal trains, is going to hurt our local economy is baseless. Bellingham at one point had multiple tracks running throughout the city that serviced the many industrial business that once existed in greater numbers.
We have in place infrastructure that could be complimented by a multi-commodity export terminal at Cherry Point. We should fully utilize the existing rail in Whatcom County. The Gateway Pacific Terminal through private investment of over $700 million in Whatcom County will generate new high-wage jobs locally; both directly at the terminal and indirectly in the community. The existing rail corridor in our county is a great asset that can handle current and future rail traffic without the need for expansion.
Throughout my years of working around the county I have never experience coal dust, even while working right next to the rail lines. This obviously is a scare tactic used to drum up opposition to the Gateway Pacific Terminal. Because of this I suggest residents do their own research in the effort to formulate your own opinion based on facts, not talking point.