Letters to the Editor

Suggests initiative to tax coal transit, storage

I was shocked to learn that BNSF is going to build a new side track from Ferndale to Custer, blocking Grandview and the Brown Road. That will enable a train to pass while the slower train sits on the side track, blocking access to I-5. This will stop traffic on Grandview and the Brown road, giving us no access to I-5.

Those of us, in the Birch Bay area, have a worse issue than the rest of the county. For those of us who take Bay Road or Grandview, we now have double jeopardy. We have to cross the Custer Spur (which is the rail access to Cherry Point) on one of those two roads and then cross the main BNSF at the I-5 Grandview. So, instead of 16 coal trains of 1.5 miles each plus the oil trains, we will have 32 trains of 1.5 miles each to contend with, at a very slow speed. If that is not bad enough, BNSF wants us also to wait while a slow train stops on a side track.

If our county executive and the Whatcom County Council allow that side track north of Ferndale, I believe it will be a disaster for Birch Bay and BP traffic!

I believe we in Whatcom County must establish a coal, transit and storage tax on all coal stored and transferred in the county of $20 per ton. That will pay for the railroad-caused infrastructure problems. If the County Council will not pass this tax, we the people must, through the initiative process.

Arne Cleveland