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Coos Bay Rail To Recieve $11 Million In Federal Funds

Coos Bay Rail Link

The Coos Bay Rail Line will receive $11 million in federal funds. The Department of Transportation is awarding a grant to fix tunnels along the tracks linking Eugene and Coquille. KLCC spoke with Democratic Congressman Peter DeFazio about the project.

Less than a decade ago the rail was in miserable condition.

That's according to Representative Peter DeFazio. He says in 2009 the Port of Coos Bay bought the rail from a private company that wanted to shut it down.

DeFazio: "We got some federal grants, the state chipped in some money, we saved the line. It's growing. What it needs is more investment because it still is suffering from the years of decay when the Wall Street vultures owned it."

DeFazio is the senior democrat on the transportation committee. He says he requested the $11 million grant in order to rehabilitate the crumbling tunnels.

DeFazio: "I've been out on this line, they had me in the back in one of those trucks you can run on the rails. I was sitting there—outside, uncovered—and I had to put my hood up because the water was just pouring through these tunnels."

There are nine tunnels—all of which are over 100 years old—on this portion of the Coos Bay Rail Line.