Proposed railroad would haul freight from Uintah Basin to Craig
Vernal, UTAH — A coalition of counties in eastern Utah have taken steps to advance a proposed rail line that would build a freight railroad connecting Roosevelt, Utah to Craig.
The Seven County Infrastructure Coalition adopted a resolution in February to make an application to the Utah Permanent Community Impact Fund Board in the amount of $30 million to cover pre-construction costs for a rail line in the Uintah Basin connecting to a national rail system in Colorado.
In January, the coalition adopted another resolution to apply for $10 million to CIB to cover pre-construction costs for the railway, but decided to go for the full amount of $30 million needed for regulatory approval in the Feb. 9 meeting.
“The thought process being as Eric (Johnson) very well pointed out, we’d be getting $10 million a year over three years to get to there,” Executive Director of the Seven County Infrastructure Coalition Mike McKee said. “As we’re working with the legislature for legislative intent language, we thought probably the best thing is just put everything up front — the total amount we’re going to be seeking is $30 million. So, that’s what we are trying to do; essentially, we’re seeking the $30 million, even though we don’t anticipate spending $30 million this year. It would be over a several-year period.”
The coalition is seeking up to $30 million from CIB in grant form, but, if approved, it will be up to CIB to determine whether the money will be dispersed in increments or all at once.
The coalition also adopted a resolution to approve a Requests for Qualifications for rail alignment, revenue and regulatory and related matters.
The deadline for the RFQ is 3 p.m. April 5.
Uintah County Commissioner Brad Horrocks said of the rail connection during the Feb. 26 Uintah County Commission meeting, “We’re proceeding forward with it, just looking at the options of doing it and getting Moffat County involved. They’ve proceeded with some interest,” Horrocks said. “We’re looking at funding options to proceed forward.”
“If it goes forward, I think it will be a great thing for both states.” Moffat County Commissioner Don Cook said. “What I would say is that we are more in support of the seven county coalition. They are the ones that are leading the way on it, and we’re just there supporting them until something definite can finally be determined.”
The next seven county coalition meeting will be held March 9 in Salt Lake City.
I have followed with interest the discussion concerning the potential transfer of the Yampa Elementary School to Memorial Regional Health. Although there are many significant unanswered questions about what Memorial Regional Health plans to do with the Yampa Elementary School, the focus of my letter is on the Yampa Elementary School as a community asset.