San Juan County approved involvement in a development board that will work to build a railline spanning seven Utah counties. The decision was made at the June 23 County Commission meeting.
The $2 billion project would begin in Uintah County and meet existing rail lines along I-70 in Emery or Grand counties. The line would likely come down the Book Cliff mesas via Hay Canyon. The railroad could also extend into San Juan County.
The development board would apply for a government loan that would allow the counties to build the railroad, with an estimated $100 million needed to apply for the loan.
Commissioner Bruce Adams reported that the $100 million needed might be available through Utah’s Community Impact Board (CIB), as either a loan or possibly even a grant.
The board is anxious to get each counties approval to move forward and apply for a loan.
Commissioner Phil Lyman said “I like the idea of those seven counties working together to build infrastructure”
Adams said of the project “Rail brings with it an energized economy.”
When the rail lines are used, the county where the product is produced and shipped would receive 70 percent of the usage fee, while the other 30 percent would be split among the other six counties.
Adams reports that some believe this could eliminate property taxes in the seven counties.
In other matters at the June 23 commission meeting, local residents Jared Barrett and Robert McPherson presented progress through a $10,000 project that received $5,000 from the commission and $5,000 from the tourism board.
The project features a series of five regional books, as well as a smart phone app intended to bring more tourists to San Juan County. There is also an app available for download on the iTunes store and will be available for Android soon.
The first book, entitled Thru Navajo Eyes, highlights San Juan County from Bluff to Monument Valley. The book is available at local businesses and on Amazon, and should be available to download soon.
The 2014 tax rate was adopted with very little discussion. The county adopted the same rate as 2013, turning down a very small growth rate.
Additionally, building permits were approved for an addition to a home near Wilson Arch, for a shed and a grainary in the La Sal area, and for a building in Spanish Valley.