Deal stays demise of two train routes.
Byline: David Steves The Register-Guard
SALEM - Gov. Ted Kulongoski Theodore R. "Ted" Kulongoski (born November 5 1940, in rural Missouri) is an American Democratic politician. Since 2003, he has served as the Governor of Oregon. He was re-elected in 2006. has won a temporary reprieve for two of the four daily Amtrak Cascades The Amtrak Cascades (originally named Cascadia) is a passenger train route operated by Amtrak in partnership with the states of Washington and Oregon in the Pacific Northwest of the United States and Canada. passenger trains between Eugene and Portland, which had been scheduled to lose access to Union Pacific rails on Sept. 30.
The issue came to a head last month after the Legislature failed to fund rail improvements agreed upon Adj. 1. agreed upon - constituted or contracted by stipulation or agreement; "stipulatory obligations"
noncontroversial, uncontroversial - not likely to arouse controversy three years ago in exchange for use of Union Pacific Railroad Union Pacific Railroad, transportation company chartered (1862) by Congress to build part of the nation's first transcontinental railroad line. Under terms of the Pacific Railroads Act, the Union Pacific was authorized to build a line westward from Omaha, Nebr. Co. tracks.
As part of the arrangement for the Amtrak Cascades trains to travel in Oregon on Union Pacific tracks, the state has paid for using tracks for two of the four daily runs.
It also agreed to make $15 million worth of improvements to the track in lieu of cash payments in exchange for use of the rail line for the remaining two trains.
But when the Legislature adjourned last month without coming through with some of the promised $15 million, Union Pacific said it would carry out a previous warning to deny the state continued use of its rail line for the train that departs Eugene for Portland at 9:30 a.m. and the train that arrives at Eugene from Portland at 8 p.m.
That set officials from Oregon's Rail Division and the governor's office scrambling to come up with the money to fund projects that could satisfy Union Pacific.
On Thursday, Kulongoski called railroad company executives in their Omaha, Neb., headquarters and offered them a deal, said adviser Pat Egan Pat Egan (born April 26, 1918) is a retired Canadian ice hockey defenceman.
Born in Blackie, Alberta, Canada, Egan started his National Hockey League career with the New York Americans in 1939. He would also play for the Detroit Red Wings, Boston Bruins and New York Rangers. .
The governor offered a preliminary set of rail improvements in Eugene, Harrisburg, Millersburg and Portland that would be paid for with $3 million in state lottery A game of chance operated by a state government.
Generally a lottery offers a person the chance to win a prize in exchange for something of lesser value. Most lotteries offer a large cash prize, and the chance to win the cash prize is typically available for one dollar. money and $12 million in federal transportation dollars.
A Union Pacific spokesman said Friday that his company was encouraged by the offer.
The two sides set up a meeting for next month to hammer out the details.
"We're optimistic this can be worked out now, so we've told the state the trains will continue running beyond Sept. 30," said spokesman John Bromley.
In 2000, the state had entered an agreement with Union Pacific to make $15 million worth of rail improvements to ease congestion The condition of a network when there is not enough bandwidth to support the current traffic load.
congestion - When the offered load of a data communication path exceeds the capacity. on the tracks.
Those improvements were to have been completed by 2001, but Union Pacific extended its deadline until this year.
The push for rail-improvement dollars during the session was overshadowed by the campaign by rail advocates to restore $8 million in funding needed to pay for operation of the two northbound and two southbound trains between Eugene and Portland, which are part of the Northwest's Amtrak Cascades regional service.
Lawmakers came up with operational dollars, but none of the rail-improvement dollars by the time they adjourned in late August.
Rail Division Manager Claudia Howells conceded that state funding for passenger train service has been tenuous since the state began rail service in 1994 with a single round-trip train in addition to Amtrak's Seattle-to-Los Angeles Coast Starlight star·light
The light from the stars.
the light that comes from the stars
Noun 1. run.
"We have had a lot of near-death experiences," she said.
Among the 23 states with regional passenger train service, a few, such as Washington and California, have "passed the do-we-really-want-to-do-this public policy debate," and have dramatically expanded rail service.
Howells said Oregon's experience is similar to that of several Midwestern states, such as Missouri, where rail advocates have convinced state lawmakers to include rail as part of their transportation systems, but lack the "buy-in" to automatically receive funding without having to debate the issue from time to time.
Sarah Swain, an Amtrak Amtrak, the National Railroad Passenger Corp., authorized to operate virtually all intercity passenger railroad routes in the United States. Amtrak was created by Congress in 1970 in response to more than two decades of continuous operating deficits by privately run spokeswoman, said Oregon's on-again, off-again on-a·gain, off-a·gain
Existing or continuing sporadically; intermittent or occasional: an on-again, off-again correspondence. struggles with funding passenger rails are unique on the West Coast, but not elsewhere.
"The states of Washington and California have done a wonderful job funding rail service in their area, but we have had problems elsewhere," she said. "Funding continues to be an issue for us on all levels."
At the federal level, Amtrak's new president, David Gunn David Gunn may be:
"He has basically said anything less than $1.8 billion is going to be a shutdown scenario," Swain said.
The state has made a preliminary pitch to improve Union Pacific rail at the following locations in exchange for the use of its track for passenger train service. The improvements would allow for a consistent travel time of 2 hours, 20 minutes between Eugene and Portland, a trip that often takes 2 hours, 30 minutes.
Eugene: Add track in the Eugene rail yard to prevent slowdowns when passenger and freight trains need to use the same track.
Harrisburg: Improve a railroad bridge over the Willamette River Willamette River
River, northwestern Oregon, U.S. It flows north for 300 mi (485 km) into the Columbia River near Portland. Oregon's most populous cities are in its valley. The Fremont Bridge, a steel arch with a main span of 1,225 ft (373 m), crosses the river at Portland. .
Millersburg: Add track to ease congestion and competition for track by freight and passenger trains.
Portland: Add track in the Albina Albina is: