Port of Coos Bay Celebrates 100 Years of Rail
On August 5, the Port of Coos Bay, Oregon, celebrated the centennial of its Coos Bay Rail Link, which connects the coastal port with the North American freight rail system via 134 miles of track, tunnels and bridges.
The opening ceremony featured the unveiling of a new locomotive named after Congressman Peter DeFazio; passenger rail car trips along the bay, including some with on-board entertainment from a local theater troupe; and a closing event attended by several elected officials, including Senator Ron Wyden. The port partnered with other local organizations to give away 200 tickets to kids and to families for the special occasion.
The Port had something new to celebrate this year, too: $11 million in federal funding from the FASTLANE program for the restoration of nine rail tunnels, an amount which will be matched with an additional $8.5 million from the port. The funds will go towards much-needed structural and track repairs. Engineers are already drafting plans for the work, and final confirmation of the award is due from the Department of Transportation in September.
Unfortunately, the port did not secure a requested $15 million in federal funds for bridge repairs, and is working with the Department of Transportation to improve on its application for next year. The line's volume growth continues to outpace the national average, a testament to the value of investing in its infrastructure and maintaining its connection to the rest of the rail network.