SPOKANE, Wash. -

The state of Washington is supporting a Spokane County plan to improve rail service to the West Plains area for economic development.

The state has identified a 7-mile stretch of spur track north of Cheney for upgrades to handle heavier freight.

The Spokesman-Review reports an estimated $7 million is needed to improve the track from Cheney to the Geiger Spur near Fairchild Air Force Base.

County officials say the section has been selected as one of three grant requests to the federal government by the Washington state Department of Transportation.

Freight service is considered a key to drawing more aerospace and shipping industries to vacant land along the Interstate 90 and U.S. Highway 2 corridors.