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East-West Rail and Port Project Deemed Consistent with State’s Goals!
Eureka, CA - Humboldt Eastern Railroad LLC and Pacific Northwest Railroad received good news last week when a letter was received from Governor Jerry Brown’s Office of Business and Economic Development. The letter cited the 2018 California State Rail Plan adopted in September of this year, which addressed the economic importance of short line railroads as an integral part of California’s rail future.
The letter states, “The Port of Humboldt is geographically situated to receive and export international goods and products that can be bound for all of California and the entire country.” It continues, “The Rail Plan’s vision for freight supports the expansion of new freight rail facilities at ports if the feasibility and benefits of the projects can be documented, and that can leverage funding support and private investment.”
Bill Helwer-Carlson, board member of Humboldt Eastern Railroad, expressed satisfaction with the letter from the Governor’s office. “Our efforts, in conjunction with Pacific Northwest Railroad’s to build a freight corridor consisting of three modern, green marine terminals on Humboldt Bay and a 220-mile double-track green railroad from Fairhaven to the Red Bluff area is clearly consistent with the Rail Plan’s aims.” He adds a specific statement on page 180 of the State Rail Plan, ‘‘The State also has an interest in supporting regional economic development and investment in ports - proposals for economic development in the North Coast region and improvements to the Port of Humboldt Bay being two examples.”
In September of 2015, Governor Brown called for solutions to the serious pollution and congestion problems that have been plaguing the major ports of California for years namely Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Oakland. He issued a demand that California’s State Agency heads come up with solutions that are, “Innovative, Transformative, and Big.”
Helwer-Carlson went on to state, “The proposal of PNR and HERR will satisfy the Governor’s request and will alleviate, to some degree, the other port’s pollution and congestion problems. This port and rail project is, ‘Innovative, Transformative, and Big.’” With a $10-15 billion price tag, it may be among the largest privately funded infrastructure projects ever undertaken in California - excluding perhaps those by telephone companies and public utilities such as PG&E.”
HEER is confident that with the leadership of Alan Painter, and his Pacific Northwest Railroad, and the support of people in our local region, these projects will become a reality and a green “game changer” for Northern California. Bill Helwer-Carlson calls upon the good people of Humboldt County, and our region, “To partner with the leadership and vision to, “Develop this freight corridor and transhipment destinations to become a world-class, green freight movement system to meet the challenge of addressing the pollution and congestion plaguing our state’s major ports.”
Humboldt County has a culture of pioneering innovative and sustainable solutions that are recognized regionally and nationally. He concludes, “We have an opportunity to pioneer a freight movement system that is consistent with our values, and that is exciting.”