Mendocino Railway has targeted the loan for rehabilitating the Noyo Canyon Tunnel No. 1, along with 27 bridges and 40 miles of track. (Contributed)
FORT BRAGG, CA — The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) announced on January 29, 2024, that Mendocino Railway, along with Sierra Northern Railway in the Central Valley, has been approved for a loan from its Build America Bureau “to expand and rehabilitate rail infrastructure in Mendocino County, California.”
Build America Bureau Executive Director Morteza Farajian, Ph.D., said, “We are pleased that a short-line railroad has been able to take advantage of our low-interest financing and deliver improvements that might not have been possible otherwise.”
The two rail systems will share a $31.4 million Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing loan, which “helps communities expedite infrastructure projects and reduce project costs.” This financing loan is provided through the RRIF and Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act.
Mendocino Railway President Robert Pinoli, in a comment provided by the Dept. of Transportation, said, “The RRIF loan helps enhance our freight and passenger services in Mendocino County by providing additional jobs, improving safety, lowering emissions, and advancing our regional transportation options.”
The loan will finance nearly 100 percent of all planned improvements for both systems. Mendocino Railway has targeted the loan for rehabilitating the Noyo Canyon Tunnel No. 1, along with 27 bridges and 40 miles of track. The project is set to be completed in 2027.
Deputy Secretary of Transportation Polly Trottenberg said, “USDOT is pleased to support this important project in California that will increase safety, reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions, and improve freight service benefitting the entire region.”
This is the first short-line railroad to receive a loan since the program was created in 2016. The RRIF program “maintains a $7 billion set-aside to support small railroads.”
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