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DailyTidings.com
  • 3 projects up for $2 million in funding

    Rail improvements, airport and bike path on the list
  • Three Jackson County projects are among 37 recommended for ConnectOregon V funding.
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  • Three Jackson County projects are among 37 recommended for ConnectOregon V funding.
    The Medford airport, along with a bike path and rail project, are scheduled to receive more than $2 million of the nearly $42.4 million pending final approval from the Oregon Transportation Commission.
    A public hearing is scheduled for July 17 in Salem with final action to be taken Aug. 21-22 in Ontario.
    Combined Transport Logistics Group is in line to receive $644,616 toward an $827,325 second-phase expansion of a loading operation between rail and trucks by adding a second rail line turnout for safer and more efficient tanker car handling. The project also will create an opportunity for a future bicycle and pedestrian link that will reduce the potential freight conflicts over time.
    The first phase of a rail hub at the former Cross Creek Trucking site was partially funded by $365,512 from ConnectOregon III in 2010.
    "We'd like there to be a Phase 3," said Combined Transport President Mike Card, whose company bought the property along Blackwell Road 18 months ago.
    "It all depends on how much business we can generate with the transload center, moving freight from truck to rail and rail to truck. We've had space constraints and issues with track mobility. This will allow us to move tankers and other cars around and help with off-loading lumber cars."
    Card said work on the project would start as soon as the funding is finalized. Snow closes the Medford airport to commercial traffic every two or three years, and the Federal Aviation Administration has set aside $4.5 million for a storage facility for its snow-removal equipment. The airport is in line to pick up $500,000 from ConnectOregon V.
    "I'm thrilled. It's a nice chunk," Airport Director Bern Case said.
    "Even though we don't get heavy snow that often, when we do it's critical to have the equipment, and the FAA requires having a storage facility if you have snow-removal equipment."
    The city of Medford is earmarked to receive $868,000 to cover the bulk of the cost of a nearly $1.1 million bike path extension, connecting the Larson Creek Greenway to the Bear Creek Greenway.
    The 12-foot path will run between Ellendale Drive and Black Oak Drive and is approximately 3,500 feet in length, and will serve an area that includes St. Mary's School and Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center.
    All told, 104 requests were submitted to the state, topped by a $6.4 million request toward an $8 million pedestrian/bike path bridge over Interstate 5 in Wilsonville that was not funded. The biggest approval was $6 million for a cold storage rail transload warehouse at the Port of Morrow along the Columbia River, which had a total price tag of $12.1 million.
    Nearly $124.4 million was requested, with 15 percent recommended for aviation projects, 17 percent for bicycle/pedestrian efforts, 26 percent for port/marine projects; 32 percent for rail projects, and 8 percent going to transit projects.
    ConnectOregon uses revenues from lottery-backed bonds to fund nonhighway transportation projects that promote economic development in Oregon. Since it was created in 2005, ConnectOregon has provided $382 million in funding.
    Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or email business@mailtribune.com.
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