BNSF certifies Port Authority business park

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Kootenai Business Park is now one of only about 20 sites nationwide to be certified through a four-year-old BNSF Railway program.

The park will be “highly promoted through BNSF and their website to industry evaluating appropriate sites for expansion,” according to an announcement the Kootenai River Development Council posted on Facebook.

The Lincoln County Port Authority, which contains the park, applied for the certification last spring. It cost $25,000, half of which was paid for by a Big Sky Trust Fund grant from the Montana Department of Commerce.

The money paid for technical support from an engineering firm, Tina Oliphant, executive director of Lincoln County Port Authority/Kootenai River Development Council, said Thursday by email.

The value of the certification, Oliphant wrote, is the exposure provided by BNSF Railway’s marketing and business development resources, which are “credible and knowledgeable sources for national industry looking for new rail-served locations.”

Being rail-served will make Kootenai Business Park attractive to any business that prefers rail transportation to long-haul truck transportation, Oliphant wrote, a factor that would suggest a business that distributes product nationwide.

“This [certification] is also a benefit to the local economy because, most likely, there will be new business dollars floating into our community from outside the region,” she added.

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