Project still preliminary

Railroad might not bring economic impact

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Despite almost two years of study, plans for a new railroad extending from Uintah County, Utah, into Northwest Colorado are still "very preliminary in nature," said Jim Evans, director of the Associated Governments of Colorado.

Several Utah and Colorado agencies are conducting a feasibility study on the benefits of the proposed "Isolated Empire Rail Project."

The future of the railway depends on the development of a phosphate mine near Vernal, Utah, Evans said.

"We are looking at if we should run a railway through Northwest Colorado and how it will best serve Northwest Colorado," Evans said.

The exact route of the railway has yet to be determined.

Craig Mayor Dave DeRose has attended project meetings and said it is good to see more development in Northwest Colorado.

The mayor said people in Craig need not get too excited about the project.

"I'm all for it," DeRose said. "Development of any kind is good but it doesn't accomplish anything for us."

Even if a decision were made to run the rail directly through Craig, DeRose said he didn't think it would have much of an economic impact.

"If they run the railroad to Craig it won't give access to anything except that plant," DeRose said. "In all reality, does it create a shipping line for Craig? Not really."

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