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Oppose Federal Funding for North Coast Coal Trains

Please join us in writing to the Department of Transportation urging them to deny a loan application from Mendocino Railway (aka the Skunk Train) for funding from the Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing (RRIF) program.

Mendocino Railway has indicated they are interested in acquiring all or a portion of the Northwest Pacific Railroad, which if rebuilt would be used to transport coal through the Eel River Canyon to Humboldt Bay. If successful, Mendocino Railway’s acquisition of the line would also destroy existing and future segments of trail along the rail right of way.

Several members of our coalition have already written their own letters:

Take Action

Fill out the form below to send your own message along with this letter to Carlos Monje, Undersecretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation. You can also download and print the letter by clicking here.

December 3, 2021

Undersecretary Carlos Monje
U.S. Department of Transportation
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, D.C. 20590
via email: carlos.monje@dot.gov; amit.bose@dot.gov; buildamerica@dot.gov; morteza.farajian@dot.gov; rogerbohnert@dot.gov; william.resch@dot.gov; sam.beydoun@dot.gov; alex.clegg@dot.gov 

Re: Mendocino Railway application for Railroad Rehabilitation & Improvement Financing (RRIF) funding

Dear Undersecretary Monje,

I was recently dismayed to learn that Mendocino Railway may have applied for a federal loan under the Railroad Rehabilitation & Improvement Financing (RRIF) program.

Providing funding to this company would involve gross misdirection of resources intended to improve and repair railroads that are integral to the functioning of the national transportation system.  Despite its name, Mendocino Railway is not engaged in the movement of either goods or passengers; this company’s only activity is the operation of an excursion train on an isolated segment of tracks with no connection to the national rail network.

Furthermore, since the loan application is not open to the public, it is impossible to know whether it would support the Offer of Financial Assistance that Mendocino Railway is preparing for “all or a portion” of the defunct North Coast Railroad Authority (NCRA) line from Willits to Humboldt Bay.

Reactivation of the NCRA line is likely to have disastrous impacts including:

  • increased greenhouse gas emissions;
  • harm to the health and safety of residents of rural lands and small towns along its route;
  • disastrous impairments to the Eel River, a drinking water source for many people and crucial habitat for imperiled salmonid species:
  • termination of the railbanking necessary for construction of both the landmark Great Redwood Trail and a safe bicycle connection between Eureka and Arcata. 

I request that you take the steps needed to ensure immediate rejection of any RRIF loan to the Mendocino Railway.

Sincerely, 

(Your name)