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Colorado railroad to seek alternative funds

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Although not receiving TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) federal stimulus funding, a project to improve The San Luis and Rio Grande Railway is not dead in its tracks reports the Valley Courier in Alamosa, Colo. Ed Ellis, president of the railway's parent company, Iowa Pacific, said this week he plans to look for alternative funding sources for the project that would expand the rail's capabilities through the Valley.

"We think it’s a great
program," he said. "We had a lot of support for it Valley wide to move forward."

Ellis and representatives
of other shortline railroads will be in Washington, D.C., this week to meet
with members of Congress, and Ellis plans to meet with Congressman John Salazar
and Senator Michael Bennet’s offices to discuss alternative funding for rail
improvements.

"It’s infrastructure, and
that’s one of the hot buttons for the Obama Administration, to improve
infrastructure," Ellis said. "It’s all the right buttons."

Ellis said the TIGER
program was highly competitive because only 51 proposals could be funded out of
more than 1,400. The local railroad’s application alone was for $80 million and
was one of 32 statewide totaling $1.1 billion. Applications throughout the
nation totaled $59 billion, with only $1.5 billion available. Approximately one
project in each state received TIGER funding.

"I am disappointed,"
Ellis said, "but I cannot really complain too much because there was a lot of
competition for it."

He remained optimistic
about the rail improvement project. "I think there will be other alternatives.
Stay tuned, and we will see what happens."

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