Merkley, Wyden Announce $5.6 Million Investment in Lake County Railroad

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden today announced a $5.6 million investment in railroad safety and rehabilitation in Lake County.

“This is the kind of significant investment our country needs to be making in infrastructure,” Merkley said. “This grant will make railroad crossings safer and improve service reliability—creating jobs and economic opportunity for the entire Lake County region. As I’ve traveled around the state, I’ve seen firsthand the need for infrastructure investments in our communities, and I will continue to use my seat on the Senate Appropriations Committee to fight for this type of funding.”

“Lake County provides a great example of the benefits that flow from essential infrastructure investment in rural America,” Wyden said. “The gains that will flow from improving the Lake County Railroad’s safety and reliability help generate jobs through local businesses better able to transport their goods to market.”

“These investments in our rail will benefit all of Lake County, improving safety and reliability,” Lake County Commissioner Brad Winters said. “The  funding will be immeasurably helpful to our effort to improve the rail line and support local industries and Red Rock Biofuels—now under construction—so they can be successful in our rural community. The money represents more than half the cost to rehabilitate our Lake County Railroad from an Excepted rail line to a Class 1 standard rail line. This all happens with a great team and we thank the Senators for pushing to deliver these funds.”

The Lake County Railroad is in critical need of rail improvements to safely, efficiently, and economically transport natural resource products to markets outside of Lake County, as well as importing manufacturing materials. The Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements Grant Program funding is part of a $10.6 million project to rehabilitate the railroad, including rail, tie, ballast and bridge work along 55 miles of 100-year-old rail line. 

Upgrades to the Lake County Railroad will serve new export-related commerce and trade business activities, and help retain and expand manufacturing businesses, supporting over 250 lumber-mill, mining, fuel refining, and railroad operator jobs.