FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                CONTACT:    Matt Gerien

March 11, 2005                                                                                  (202) 225-3311


House Approves Assistance for North Coast Railroad Authority

Thompson Secures Funding in Transportation Bill


WASHINGTON—The House of Representatives yesterday approved a transportation bill that provides $12 million in loan forgiveness for the North Coast Railroad Authority (NCRA).  North Coast Congressman Mike Thompson was able to secure this funding in H.R. 3 the Transportation Equity Act, the bill that determines the direction of federal transportation funding for the next six years.  


“The North Coast Railroad is a critical piece of infrastructure that has the potential to greatly improve our region’s economy,” Thompson said.  “This funding will help the railroad in its efforts to get trains running again which would provide greater access to the Port of Eureka and reduce truck traffic on Highway 101.”  


In addition to $12 million in loan forgiveness, the bill designates the NCRA as the lead agency to accept $8.6 million in unused funding that had been approved in transportation funding passed in previous years. 


The NCRA manages 300 miles of tracks running through Humboldt, Mendocino, Sonoma and Marin Counties.  Reopening the railroad will provide an additional transportation link between the Humboldt Bay and the San Francisco Bay Area which in turn will lessen truck traffic on Highway 101 by approximately 17,000 miles a year and reduce highway maintenance costs by up to $2 million each year.  


The next step for the Transportation Equity Act is consideration in the Senate and a conference committee where the House and Senate will compromise on the final version of the bill.


Thompson signaled that he is confident this language will remain in the bill, “this legislation still has some hurdles ahead of it but I will continue to fight for this important funding.”


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