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Vote to sell Ukiah rail depot rescinded | PressDemocrat.com | The Press Democrat | Santa Rosa, CA
Friday 23 Jan 2009, 12:15
Filed under: Mendocino, NCRA, Northwestern Pacific Railroad, Railroad

Vote to sell Ukiah rail depot rescinded | PressDemocrat.com | The Press Democrat | Santa Rosa, CA.

Bowing to critics, the North Coast Railroad Authority board on Thursday rescinded its December vote to sell the historic Ukiah depot or use it to secure a loan.

The December vote was challenged by several environmental and government groups who said the rail authority failed to adequately give notice prior to the vote at a meeting in Petaluma.

The rail board will revisit the Ukiah depot vote at its next Ukiah meeting, scheduled for April 9, said rail authority Executive Director Mitch Stogner.

The board should know by then whether it has the authority to sell property, one of several potential challenges to a sale or mortgaging of the depot.

Caltrans officials are investigating the issue, Stogner said.

Also at issue is transportation funding slated for rehabilitation of the depot. Mendocino Council of Governments Executive Director Phil Dow said the $351,000 it expects to get for the project would be jeopardized by the rail authority declaring the property surplus, a precursor to a sale, or using it as loan collateral.

“The requirement is that the grant be maintained in public ownership through the life of the improvements,” he said.

The rail authority wants to sell the depot or use it to secure a loan to help pay for the costs of a lawsuit filed to halt its work to repair the rail line in Novato, Stogner said.

The lawsuit and settlement cost the rail authority $1.7 million, Stogner said.

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