NORTH COAST RAILROAD AUTHORITY

419 Talmage Road Suite M

Ukiah, Ca 95482

707-463-3280 Phone

510-915-2656 Executive Director Cellular

707-463-3282 Fax

 

Mitch Stogner, Executive Director                                    Allan Hemphill, NCRA Chairman

ncra.mstogner@sbcglobal.net                                                           vinguru@comcast.net

                                                           

CTC Approves Rail Repair Funds

 

On November 9, the California Transportation Commission (CTC) approved the North Coast Railroad Authority’s (NCRA) request for $43.2 in state and federal funds to initiate repairs on 142 miles of trackway between Lombard (South of Napa) and Willits.  The CTC also approved $3.9 million to initiate environmental review of the Eel River Canyon North of Willits, and allocated $3.5 million to begin the engineering phase of the restoration work between Lombard and Willits.

 

NCRA’s Chairman, Allan Hemphill, said that the repairs, which were approved by the CTC at its November meeting in Jackson, will include trackwork, bridges, and replacement of 53 crossing signals on the first 62 miles between Lombard and Windsor, with the work between Windsor and Willits to follow.  He said that the restoration work would be underway throughout 2007, with the goal of operations between Lombard and Windsor in early 2008.  CTC’s approval of our funding request is a major endorsement by the State of NCRA’s goal to restore the entire railroad.  Southern-end shippers, between Lombard to Windsor, will be the first to take advantage of the resumption of rail service, but ultimately shippers up and down the line and North Coast residents will benefit from the energy savings and the reduction of truck traffic on Hwy 101.”

 

Fourth District Sonoma County Supervisor Paul Kelley, who sits on the NCRA Board of Directors, said that the CTC action frees-up enough money to repair the track from the national rail interchange (Lombard) to Windsor and North to Willits, “but that we will need Proposition 1B Bond funds to complete the job all the way to the Port of Humboldt Bay.”  Kelley said that NCRA will apply for bond funds under a special category designated for freight rail projects to improve goods movement from seaports. 

 

Hemphill and Kelley both said that the resumption of service will begin in Sonoma County, with Mendocino and Humboldt Counties to follow.

 

“Our job is not done until trains are running the entire 316 miles from the connection to the national rail system East of Novato all the way North to Humboldt Bay,” said Hemphill.

 

John Williams, CEO for NWP Co., NCRA’s newly established contract operator, presented his Business Plan to the CTC which was also approved at the November 9 meeting.  Williams said that he is prepared to begin shipping feed grains, wood products, building materials, and municipal solid waste as soon as the line is repaired and certified for service by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA).

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The North Coast Railroad Authority (NCRA) was formed in 1989 by the California Legislature under the North Coast Railroad Authority Act, Government Code Section 93000, et seq.  The mission of the North Coast Railroad Authority is to provide a unified & revitalized rail infrastructure meeting the freight and passenger needs of the region; a first class service working in partnership with others to build and sustain the economy of the region.