(April 16) MOSES LAKE, Wash. — Legislation aimed at enhancing transportation options for shippers in Washington is headed to the state’s House of Representatives.

The Produce Railcar Pool bill, which had been in the Washington House Transportation Committee until early April, would give the state Department of Transportation the authority to assist various commodity boards in setting up a railcar pool that would be accessible by all perishable commodity shippers in the state.

The department would have the authority to purchase or accept refrigerated rail cars, receive funding to refurbish and remodel the cars as needed and administer the program. The department would work with other agencies, local and federal governments, commodity commissions, port districts and private entities to help increase the availability of rail cars for perishable commodities.

To help secure federal funding for the program, Pat Boss, executive director of the Washington State Potato Commission, along with several potato growers, recently paid a visit to Washington, D.C., to meet with federal legislators from the state.

Among them was Democratic Sen. Patty Murray, whom Boss said had been a key figure in coordinating efforts between the various entities involved in the project.