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Whatcom County transportation issues are the focus of a State Transportation Commission meeting

(BELLINGHAM)– Transportation challenges and successes for the Bellingham and Whatcom County area will be the focus of a Washington State Transportation Commission meeting when members visit Bellingham next week.  Local officials and community and business leaders will participate as part of the commission’s statewide public outreach effort.

The meeting will start at 9 a.m. Tuesday, May 20, in the City Council Chambers, Bellingham City Hall, 210 Lottie Street. The meeting is open to the public and persons wishing to speak to the commission may do so during the public comment period scheduled for 4:30 p.m.

The meeting features a series of short presentations on future plans and needs for transportation in Bellingham and Whatcom County. Topics include street and road conditions, port activities, public transportation services and needs, and tribal transportation. The commission will hear from Western Washington University and the Bellingham Chamber of Commerce about the transportation issues they face, and also will learn about the effects of international border traffic on the regional economy and transportation.

The meeting also will include a panel discussion on transportation issues related to unit train shipments. Unit trains, which may carry coal, containers, crude oil or grain, have become a major concern in communities where rail lines and major roads intersect due to traffic disruption and safety concerns related to the high volatility of crude oil. In addition, these long trains use up so much rail capacity that smaller shippers may have difficulty moving products.

The Washington State Transportation Commission holds several meetings throughout the state each year to gain insight from local government, industry and citizens about transportation issues that affect their communities and region. This information helps the commission to develop and implement transportation policies and recommendations that reflect the priorities of the people and local governments of the State of Washington. The commission also will be meeting in Ellensburg and Lakewood later this year.

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