As the Seattle region booms and the demand for more residential areas continue, industrial lands such as BNSF’s intermodal facility in Tukwila are scrambling to make sure they aren’t squeezed out.

Tukwila city leaders and BNSF officials are working together to ensure people understand that industrial lands must be preserved, or risk losing business in a globally-competitive market.

Facilities in the Seattle area are used by customers as far away as North Dakota, where soybean farmers currently utilize Tukwila to ship their product across the world. It’s a crucial link, not just to local customers, but regional and national as Washington is a gateway to global markets. Jobs are also at stake. BNSF employs approximately 170 workers at the Tukwila intermodal facility in addition to another 100 workers from vendors and service partners. They recently added another 100 workers to serve as switch crews.

According to a study commissioned by the Washington Council on International Trade and BNSF, freight rail adds $28.5 billion to Washington’s economy each year.