Washington's economy depends on its ability to move freight through its multimodal transportation system via roadways, railways, waterways and airways.
Truck freight: Washington state relies on highways and roadways for long-distance freight transport as well as for urban goods delivery. Trucks move an estimated $42 million worth of freight on roadways in Washington state every hour. There are over 7,000 miles of highways in the state, and tens of thousands of miles of local roads that allow freight to move into, out of, within, and through the state. Rail freight: The economic vitality of Washington state requires a strong rail system capable of providing businesses, ports and farms with competitive access to North American and international markets. There are over 3,000 miles of railroad lines in Washington to move freight around and beyond the state. Shipping cargo by rail diverts cargo off of highways and generates fewer emissions than shipping by truck. Marine freight: The marine freight waterways in Washington state consist of the Pacific Ocean, the Salish Sea and the Columbia-Snake River System. These waterways, combined with commercial ports, terminals, locks, and vessels, comprise the marine system. Marine freight supports domestic and international trade by providing safe, efficient, and cost-effective transportation options for shippers. Air freight: The economic impact of air cargo is felt within the businesses supporting air cargo operations as well as in those businesses that depend upon air cargo for shipments of goods and materials. Air freight is often the mode of choice for lightweight, high-value, and time sensitive cargoes.