The Utah Rail Passengers Association announced this week that they disapprove of the current proposal for the Uinta Basin Railway presented by the Seven County Infrastructure Coalition, a rail line intended to expand the economy of the Uinta Basin.
According to Mike Christensen, executive director of the Utah Rail Passengers Association, the rail routes proposed unilaterally benefit the oil industry. He said Utah needs more railroad accessible to the public and other businesses.
“I feel like this is a missed opportunities because the Seven County Infrastructure Coalition could go about this process much differently and come up with solutions that would bring a much wider range of economic development to the Uinta Basin. The problem is that if the oil industry does not continue to be viable in the Uinta Basin, we would be left with a railroad line that doesn’t actually serve a broader base of economic development,” Christensen said.
Christensen said the Seven Country Infrastructure Coalition should revise their plan to help more people living in the Uinta Basin.
“The proposal would have to include connecting to the towns in the Uinta Basin and actually allow there to be businesses near those towns that could have access to railroad, and also it would be good if they would look into look into providing passenger service on this line too,” Christensen said.
The Seven County Infrastructure Coalition’s proposal is still in the early stages. An Environmental Impacts statement is currently being prepared and will need approval from the U.S. Surface Transportation Board.