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Opinion: Railway will be a boost to the Uinta Basin economy

It will allow other industries to build in that area to provide permanent jobs besides the oil and gas industry

John Beaslin, an attorney in Vernal, displays a photo of his late father, also named John, who was a conductor on the Uintah Railroad.
John Beaslin, an attorney in Vernal, displays a photo of his late father, also named John, who was a conductor on the Uintah Railroad. The Uintah Railroad operated from 1904 to 1939, hauling Gilsonite, wool and other goods, as well as passengers, along a route that stretched from Watson, Utah, to Mack, Colo.
Geoff Liesik, Deseret News

I am excited to learn that the Surface Transportation Board approved the Seven County Infrastructure Coalition’s request for the Uinta Basin Railway project.

I was raised in Uintah County back in the 1950s and 1960s and still have relatives that live there. Over the years I have watched the boom and bust of the economy in that area due to the oil industry being the main source of jobs. During the bust economy, many have to move out of the towns, including the young, to find work. During one of these cycles, my brother-in-law had to move to Price, leaving his family in Vernal, to work two part-time jobs for a year so they didn’t lose their house.

The railroad that is proposed is not just to haul oil from that region, although that will be a real shot in the arm for that industry. According to the Uinta Basin Railway site: ”The rail will be a common carrier freight transportation service, equally open to all freight shippers of all goods and services, including oil and gas, mining and agriculture.” It will also remove all those tanker trucks (that cause more pollution than a freight train) that go between the oil fields and the refineries from the sometimes crowded road between Salt Lake, Roosevelt, Vernal and into Colorado.

The Uinta Basin definitely needs a railroad. It will allow other industries to build in that area to provide permanent jobs besides the oil and gas industry. Having a transportation method other than trucking will open that area up and people will be able to work and live in that part of the state they love.

I am grateful to Gov. Spencer Cox and others for supporting this endeavor.

Colleen Allred Haymond

Taylorsville