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DeFazio: USDOT obligates TIGER II grant for Coos Bay line rehab


Last week, Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) announced the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) officially obligated a $13.5 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery II (TIGER II) grant for the Oregon International Port of Coos Bay to finish Coos Bay Line repairs and restore rail service.

The funds “got caught up in bureaucratic red tape,” said DeFazio in a prepared statement. So, he asked the USDOT to expedite the grant approval process due to the House’s passage of H.R. 1, which would “cut certain types of unobligated DOT funding, including the Coos Bay grant,” he said.
“The Coos Bay rail line could have lost this grant had the process not been expedited,” said DeFazio.
In September 2007, the Central Oregon and Pacific Railroad embargoed the Coos Bay line because of necessary repairs and the high cost of completing the work. DeFazio worked with the Port of Coos Bay to obtain funding to acquire and repair the line, including $8 million in federal funds secured in March 2009 towards the acquisition. 
In summer 2010, the port applied for a TIGER II grant to rehabilitate the line, and the USDOT awarded the grant in October. The grant will be matched by $1 million from the port, according to DeFazio.
The TIGER II proceeds will enable the port to upgrade track to accommodate train speeds from 25 mph to 40 mph. Trains will be able to operate between Coquille and Eugene, Ore., with only one crew member instead of two, and move loads in a more timely and cost-efficient manner, said DeFazio.

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More News from 3/16/2011