SALEM — “In the ongoing state process to obtain funding [for Design construction], the Final Review Committee for the Department of Transportation released the group’s recommendation for funding of the [Treasure Valley] Reload Center in Malheur County,” according to Greg Smith, project manager.
The committee, which met in January is a group of private citizens from around Oregon with experience in transportation and shipping. It made recommendations about the proposed facility in Malheur County and two proposed facility in the Willamette Valley, all with conditions to receive the funding.
The recommendations were made to the Oregon Transportation Commission which will be meeting on Feb. 21 to review the proposals, to hear from the sponsors and possibly to make a decision.
Review committee comments about Treasure Valley Reload Center
• The proposal could lead to additional investment in eastern Oregon, and could spur more business development.
• It would provide more transportation options for commodity exports from Treasure Valley.
• There were concerns about availability of refrigerated rail cars and how Union Pacific’s announced investment in their ColdConnect facility in Wallula, Washington, would compete with this facility.
• It would be beneficial to see a greater variety of commodities than onions go through the facility, so that it was utilized for a greater variety of commodities so that is was utilized for a greater part of the year.
Review committee’s recommendations subject to the following conditions
• The Transportation Commission should request a stronger level of commitment of service from the Union Pacific Railroad to haul cars to and from the reload center.
Smith has said railroad officials have requested that design phase of the reload center be increased up to the 30-percent level.
• The project sponsors should seek opportunities to expand service to other commodities and markets beyond onions to facilitate year round operation.
Smith said there are people interested in having container service at the center and others who are interested in shipping hay.