Press release from Sen. Mike McGuire’s office:
Late Thursday, the Federal Surface Transportation Board soundly rejected the Mendocino Railway (MR) Company’s bid to take over 13 miles of the Great Redwood Trail. This massive move by federal regulators paves the way for one of the most important steps yet for the Great Redwood Trail – protecting and preserving 175 miles of rail line forever through the rail banking process. This will allow the Great Redwood Trail to begin breaking ground on these miles of line and ensure the former rail right of way remains in public ownership in perpetuity.
Senate Majority Leader Mike McGuire issued the following statement on the action:
“This is a momentous day for the future of the North Coast and the Great Redwood Trail. With this proposal soundly rejected by the federal government, I’m thrilled that we’ll once and for all start moving dirt and getting large swaths of the Great Redwood Trail built,” McGuire said. “The STB was extremely clear and concise in their decision, and we are grateful for all of the work they have put into making the Trail a reality. Obviously, we’ll be on the look-out for any potential Hail Mary attempts to appeal and we’ll be at the ready to beat them back in the coming few weeks.”
The Surface Transportation Board stated in the ruling: “Because MR has not demonstrated financial responsibility, MR’s OFA will be rejected and the OFA process concluded.”
The timing could not be better. Senator McGuire is hosting a Town Hall this coming Monday, October 24th to review the process for the Great Redwood Trail Master Plan. The public is encouraged to join and be a part of the online event. Some of the nation’s top trail designers and experts will be participating in this much anticipated kickoff.
Caryl Hart, Chair of the Great Redwood Trail Agency, said: “Thursday’s clear and definitive ruling is yet another victory in the progress of the Great Redwood Trail. This has been a long process, but an outstanding result and a definitive win. I can’t thank our legal team enough – they have done an outstanding job of showing why the Trail is so important to the Golden State and North Coast. We’re all excited to kick off the Trail master plan this coming Monday evening!”