Director Hemphill, "That is the Elephant in the room, no rail, no port!" January 2014 NCRA meeting.
The January North Coast Rail Authority meeting was held in Eureka
this month. The first presentation was done by David Hull of the
UpState Railconnect Committee concerning a Rail Feasibility Study. In
2013 they collected 50 letters of support and had heard from some
unidentified private investors. The nonprofit fund raising arm of the
organization, Land Bridge Alliance, completed 30 presentations in
Northern California to interested organizations. Through the City of
Eureka they applied for a TIGER grant that fell short of acceptance
but will be used as a template for future attempts. They also put out
2 newsletters in 2013 and identified 13 points of reference for their
“Scope of Work.”
Pete Oringer also spoke on behalf of Land Bridge Alliance saying
the organization was created to encourage eco development and
transportation that was rail specific.
Former Eureka City Manager David Tyson identified himself as the
Chair of Land Bridge Alliance and said he has been educating the
public in the valley and on the coast on their goals and said they
will be participating in North State Economic Conference in 2014. He
also let people know they could find information on their
organization on the City of Eureka Website.
Director Alan Hemphill made comments saying that although he
supports the feasibility study he felt there was an “overarching”
issue economically he has witnessed in his over 20 years of Director
on the NCRA is the need of freight traffic for revenue. “That is
the elephant in the room! No rail, no port!” He also addressed
myths he had heard about the ability to run rail in the Eel River
The next presentation was from Marcella Clem of HCOAG about the
101 corridor plan. She pointed out conditions set by the Coastal
Commission concerning the removal of the billboards and the trail
element around the east side of the bay. It sounded like the goal for
breaking ground would be 2017.
Richard Mullins said they were still really in the design phase
and needed to look at studies and have buy in from all stakeholders.
Pete Johnston from the Timber Heritage Association updated their
activities and gave a new schedule for 2014 “Speeder” activities.
They are in the process of having their speeder and track re
NCRA Property Specialist Doug McCorkle said that Parallel
Infrastructure completed their review on NCRA right away assets on
the southern end of the line and proposed maybe future identification
of properties from Willits to Eureka.
NWPco operator John Williams updated on clean up at Ukiah Depot
property. The work should be done within 10 days and then can be
passed back to the NCRA like “Kaep to Crabtree!” Currently the
NWPco is paying taxes in Napa, Marin and Sonoma counties in excess of
$33,000 a year. SMART rail operators made a claim of operations
violations of NWPco that is awaiting determination from the Federal
Railroad Authority. NWPco agreed to suspend 2 operators for 42 days