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STB sets Coos Bay Line portion price at $16.6 million


Now, the Oregon International Port of Coos Bay knows how much it’ll cost to purchase a portion of the Coos Bay Line from the Central Oregon & Pacific Railroad Inc. (CORP).

Yesterday, the Surface Transportation Board (STB) announced it established a purchase price of $16.6 million for the 111-mile segment of the line between Danebo and Cordes, Ore. The price is about $2.9 million less than the port claimed it could afford to buy the line.

The STB previously ordered CORP to sell the line to the port, which now must decide by Dec. 1 whether to accept the sale terms. The board also granted CORP authority to abandon a 94-mile segment of the line, effective Nov. 30, if a sale of that segment isn’t completed.

If sale terms are acceptable, the port must close the transaction with CORP by Feb. 18, 2009, the STB said.

In September 2007, CORP closed the Coos Bay Line because the short line determined three tunnels posed a safety risk to operations and were too costly to repair, and the line's traffic had declined significantly. The state then fought CORP’s and parent RailAmerica Inc.'s plan to close the line permanently and encouraged the STB to accept the port’s proposal to purchase a portion of the Coos Bay.

“Today’s decision marks a significant milestone in the board’s efforts to reopen the Coos Bay Line,” said STB Chairman Charles Nottingham in a prepared statement.  “The shippers along this corridor are now one step closer to the resumption of much-needed rail service.”