Sunnyside Port commissioners have approved moving forward with a piping project on Midvale Road despite a lack of commitment from Union Pacific Railroad to pay its portion.
Port commissioners are following a holiday schedule during the months of November and December, in which they only meet twice in one week for the month.
It was at the Nov. 11 business meeting commissioners gave the green light for SVID to begin piping the area.
Port Director Amber Hansen said this morning the Port of Sunnyside has plans to develop its property at Midvale Road, but in order to do that, the piping is necessary. The project will include the replacement of a railroad bridge crossing and the removal of another railroad crossing next to Duffy Road.
Communication with the railroad has been dicey for quite some time. Recently, Union Pacific officials agreed to pay, but have not identified the funds necessary for the work in their budget.
"In order to get SVID to do the project, they require an assurance they will get paid," she explained. "The railroad will get billed first. If for some reason we can't make the railroad pay, we're making an assurance SVID will get paid."
She added, "It's our project, our land, our impact. If we cannot persuade them to pay it, then we'll have to pay it."
Hansen said the port has been ready for the project for a year. "We've invested more than a quarter of a million dollars in piping that has been sitting on the ground since this time last year."
The piping project, she said, is a critical step in getting the property developed.
Hansen said SVID should begin working on the project in January and Union Pacific Railroad will be billed $52,000.
In December, the Port of Sunnyside will meet on Dec. 7 and 9.