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|Saturday, December 01, 2007|
COOS BAY After unexpectedly shutting down traffic on a rail line between Eugene and Coos Bay this fall, the Boca Raton, Fla., company RailAmerica wants to form a public and private partnership to fund as much as $30 million in repairs to three of the line’s 125-year-old tunnels — a suggestion that Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) slammed as an attempt to “extort” millions from the Port of Coos Bay and Oregon taxpayers.
The latest inspection report from RailAmerica’s engineering firm, which is dated July 16, strongly suggests the company make immediate repairs in three tunnels where support timbers — some of which are an estimated 95 years old — are rotten and rocks are falling. Giles says that report, which was reviewed by the company’s own engineer for several months after it was generated, was the impetus for the sudden closure. A subsequent inspection performed by the FRA in October validated RailAmerica’s findings, reporting that, “All three tunnels need immmediate repairs to permit the safe resumption of railroad operations.”
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