A panel of speakers with the most up to date information on the proposed Uinta Basin Railway project kicked off the Uintah Basin Energy Summit on Wednesday. Representatives from Rio Grande Pacific Corporation, the Uinta Basin Railway, and Seven County Infrastructure Coalition made up the panel. The rail is proposed as a public/private partnership sponsored by the 7 County Infrastructure Coalition, privately funded by Drexel Hamilton, and with Rio Grande Pacific Corporation handling the design, operation, and maintenance of the rail. During Wednesday’s presentation, President and Chief Operating Officer of Rio Grande Pacific Corporation Robert Bach explained that Drexel Hamilton is a long term partner and has experience with big oil pipeline projects. Rio Grande comes with 33 years of relevant experience owning 700 miles of short-line rail over 6 western and southern states. Covering a topic of concern for some, Bach stated that based on a study performed a net increase in local jobs is anticipated including trucking jobs, with approximately 100 full-time railroad employees and 50 to 100 terminal employees and short haul drivers. All jobs will have a local and tribal hiring preference. At present, the North Salt Lake refineries are receiving 80,000 barrels of oil per day of Uinta Basin Crude and that is not anticipated to change. On the note of cost, Bach emphasized that there is no public financial risk in this project. The private entities shoulder 100 percent of the risks. Seven County Infrastructure Coalition Executive Director Mike McKee stated that the engineering and EIS costs total $27.9 million dollars funded from mineral lease monies. The construction phase will cost $1.2 to $1.5 billion dollars funded entirely by Drexel Hamilton. There have been 29 possible routes evaluated, narrowed down to 8 with Indian Canyon, Wells Draw, and Craig,Colorado recommended to the Federal Surface Transportation Board who will determine the final route. The break even point for the project is 135,000 barrels per day. Comments can be submitted through September 3rd at www.UintaBasinRailway.com