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The Seven County Infrastructure Coalition's (SCIC) board voted to select Drexel Hamilton Infrastructure Partners LP for a public-private partnership to finance, develop and construct the proposed Uinta Basin Railway in Utah.
The Uinta Basin Railway is a new freight-rail line proposed by SCIC to connect the Uinta Basin to the national rail network and make it possible to economically transport goods in and out of the region, according to the project's website.
Once in operation, Rio Grande Pacific Corp. will operate and maintain the railway, SCIC officials said in a press release.
SCIC will continue in its current role as the public partner responsible for obtaining environmental clearance and authorization from the U.S. Surface Transportation Board.
Uinta Basin’s main industries are oil and gas, agriculture and livestock and mining, officials said.
“We think the Uinta Basin is America’s most prolific stranded crude oil basin and deserves its place alongside the other great oil plays like the [Permian Basin] and [Bakken Formation],” said Mark Michel, Drexel Hamilton managing partner. “The Uinta is similar to Alberta oil reserves in Canada where transportation bottlenecks exist and have limited its ability to be refined in distant markets.”
SCIC was formed in 2014 as a public implementation and ownership entity, allowing its members to build regional infrastructure elements that span across county lines.
Similar rail-related projects that Drexel Hamilton previously has helped develop include a $2.5 billion crude oil terminal in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana, that’s served by Rio Grande Pacific’s New Orleans & Gulf Coast Railway.