The Uinta Basin Railroad’s preferred alternate route (marked in red) would connect the Uintah Basin in eastern Utah with existing interstate rail connections in central Utah. The US Forest Service approved the right of way on July 14.
PORTLAND, ME — The U.S. Forest Service has granted approval for a rail right-of-way to connect the Uintah Basin to the existing interstate rail network in central Utah.
Governor Spencer Cox announced and applauded the Forest Service’s decision July 14 at the National Governors Association Summer Meeting in Portland, ME.
“It’s a Huge Win That Will Get Utah Energy to Market Fastercleaner, safer and will help the economy of eastern Utah,” Cox said.
The Uintah Basin Railroad Project is an 88-mile, single-track rail line that will connect the Uintah Basin in Eastern Utah to the Central Utah Interstate Rail System.
The preferred alternate route proposed by local authorities would extend from two endpoints in Uintah County near Myton and Leland Beach to a proposed connection with the existing Union Pacific Provo Subdivision near Kyune, Utah.
Approval for the railroad was delayed by environmental concerns because approximately 12 miles of the preferred right-of-way passed through federal lands in the Ashley National Forest.
Cox said the Forest Service decision will now allow the Uintah Basin Railroad proposal to proceed.
“State and local governments, the Ute tribe, energy producers and railroad companies have argued for decades that better access to the outside world will help the (Uintah) Basin diversify its economy,” Cox explained. “Without a doubt, this infrastructure will improve economic opportunities for individuals, families and businesses.”
The Uintah County Railroad is a proposal by the Seven County Coalition in eastern Utah. This group — made up of county officials from Carbon, Daggett, Duchesne, Emery, San Juan, Sevier and Uintah — was formed in 2014 to promote regional planning, increase economic opportunity and implement sustainable infrastructure projects.
“The Uintah Basin Railroad will be important to Utah’s economy and rural Utah’s ability to diversify its economic flows,” said Senator J. Stewart Adams, President of the Utah Senate. .
“The mining lease dollars generated by the mining industry and the export of Utah crude to domestic and global markets means more revenue, which benefits other infrastructure (worldwide). the state).”
The Uintah Basin is located in the northeast corner of Utah. It is bounded to the north by the Uintah Mountains, to the south by the Tavaputs Plateau, to the west by the Wasatch Range, and to the east by high ground that separates it from neighboring Colorado.
The Uintah Basin is rich in natural resources, including hydrocarbons, phosphates, and other minerals critical to the US economy. It is, however, one of the largest areas in the western United States without interstate rail or road connections or major airport service.
Without those connections, Cox said Duchesne and Uintah counties had been put at a competitive disadvantage when trying to attract business investment and residents had very limited job prospects.
“We are delighted to see the potential of this region unleashed“, added the governor.