Senator Wesley Chesbro

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Darby Kernan 916-445-3375





SACRAMENTO – Senator Wesley Chesbro (D-Arcata) has introduced a bill that would provide the North Coast Railroad Authority (NCRA) funding to jumpstart the railroad and move closer to opening the line from Humboldt to Marin County. 


SB 792 would allow the reallocation of $5.5 million of NCRA funds that have been held in a reserve bank account, to be used to complete the Environmental Consent Decree between Mendocino and Humboldt Counties, as well as, provide $2 million for NCRA administrative and operating costs.  This measure is dependent on the passage of federal legislation which is being authored by Congressman Mike Thompson, also a strong supporter of the railroad.


“I believe the railroad is a vital link for the future of the North Coast’s economy.  It will revitalize our Port, bring jobs to our region, and help reduce the number of large trucks on Highway 101,” said Chesbro.  “We need the federal government to forgive this loan, so the NCRA can move forward and complete the environmental work on the line, manage repairs, and get trains running in Sonoma, Marin, Mendocino, and Humboldt Counties.”


“Everyone knows we have had our share of setbacks since 1998. That said, we simply can't afford to give up on this railroad,” said John Woolley, Chair of the NCRA.  “It represents the future for the Port of Humboldt Bay, and a major boost to the North Coast economy.”


The NCRA is responsible for 316 miles of right-of-way from Lombard in Napa to Samoa in Humboldt County.  Until the railroad is fully operational, NCRA is responsible for emergency maintenance issues such as strengthening of levees, repairs of bridges, repair of culverts and flood-related damage, vegetation and weed abatement, as well as other general maintenance.


“I think it is critical to remember that if the NCRA goes away, the State will be responsible for the line and I believe the State and the North Coast are better served by an operating railroad,” Chesbro added.


“This legislation will play a vital role in the future of the North Western Pacific line,” added Woolley.  The funding will be used to manage repairs on the South End, fund administrative costs, complete the court-ordered cleanup of nine rail yards, and begin a detailed assessment of conditions in the Eel River Canyon and the North End.


The State Legislature created the NCRA in 1990 to preserve 316 miles of the NWP rail line between Marin County and the Humboldt Bay. 


SB 792 needs to be in print for 30 days and then it will be set in the Senate Transportation Committee for a hearing.