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Railway Grant Seen As Getting Coos Development Moving

North Country economic development officials are crossing their fingers and waiting to hear later this summer whether the federal government will provide money to upgrade a section of rail line through Coos County.

NHPR’s Chris Jensen reports.

For years one of the problems with economic development in the North Country has been getting stuff in and getting stuff out.

Jeff Hayes is the executive director of the North Country Council, the regional planning group.

“In general you cannot have economic development without access and transportation access and isolation is one of the most difficult problems we have in the North Country.”

One issue has been about 17 miles of an old Lawrence & Atlantic Railway line. It  crosses Coos County.

So, the state is seeking an $8 million federal grant, says Mark Sanborn, an official with the state department of transportation.

“It would improve the freight line so you could move more freight and at faster speeds.”

Hayes says an upgraded line could boost the chances of a closed paper mill in Groveton attracting a new business.

The total project is about $15 million with the Canadian firm that owns the rail line picking up most of the remaining $7 million.

For NHPR News this is Chris Jensen

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