The Washington State “Grain Train” Grain Car Program was established during the ‘90s when there was a grain car shortage in Eastern Washington. The Grain Car Program allows farmers in Eastern Washington to rent grain cars at a rate of $0.38 per hour and $0.063 per mile in order to transport their grain to shipping terminals such as Northwest Grain Growers, which leases properties from the Port, and allows Eastern Washington grain to be transported efficiently to Pacific Rim markets. The Port assisted this program by purchasing 18 grain railcars for $450,000 ($200,000 Oil Rebate Grant + $250,000 Capital Investment) in June 1999, putting them into service in April 2000. Currently, there are 118 grain cars in total, 100 owned by WSDOT and the remainder owned by the Port.
The Grain Car Program does not cost taxpayers anything, and the Port makes approximately $22,000 per year after maintenance fees and management fees from WSDOT.