Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Oregon DOT rejects short line purchase effort

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Oregon's Department of Transportation has rejected an application for funding by the Siskiyou Regional Railroad Authority (in California) to apply toward the Siskiyou Summit line, which straddles the California-Oregon border.

The authority, formed by the cities of Weed and Montague in northern California, sought $13.4 million in funding to upgrade 80 miles and support operations for the first six months of service resumption. Only 14 miles of the track in question lie north of the California border, extending to Ashland, Ore. 

Oregon DOT's development division ruled that the application does not meet feasibility criteria. The authority has one month to appeal the decision, should it so choose. 

The Siskiyou Regional Railroad Authority has signed a memoof understanding with Union Pacific to acquire the line. The authority plans tohire a short line operator to operate the railroad.

John Hammond, authority president, said the arrangement would benefit shipperssuch as Roseburg Forest Products and Timber Products Co. It would also allowthe authority to later develop passenger service and provide excursion trainsover the “spectacular Siskiyou mountains,” Hammond said.