Business & economy, Local government

Costs still mounting, as rail center tab finally calculated – $9 million more needed

NYSSA – The Treasure Valley Reload Center will need an estimated $9 million more to be completed and where all the money will come from isn’t clear.

Project leaders and local legislators have already asked the state for a $3 million taxpayer bailout, but project officials haven’t planned where to get the rest needed.

The sobering development came to light at a meeting of the board on Tuesday of the Malheur County Development Corp. Hours later, a group of state legislators toured the unfinished project being erected outside Nyssa.

A report to the board disclosed yet another unexpected increase in construction costs, soaking up money that had been earmarked to start raising the shipping center building itself.

Five key project benchmarks – at a cost of $9 million – remain to be finished and Brad Baird, president of Anderson Perry & Associates blamed the newest cost overruns on inflation.

“The cost of diesel, rental equipment and earthwork, the expenses just keep climbing. It is a significant impact,” Baird told the board.

The work remaining includes construction of the main terminal building, equipment for the building, paving of access roads and utilities, the construction of a southern access road and the acquisition of a yard engine.

County officials expect the construction of the main building will be covered by a $3 million outlay from the Legislature’s Emergency Board. State Sen. Lynn Findley, R-Vale, and state Rep. Mark Owens, R-Crane, initially appealed to the board – a group of legislators with authority to make spending decisions when the Legislature is not in session – for $3 million last spring.

That request stalled because of a legislative policy that only state agencies can request emergency awards.

In June Gov. Kate Brown rode to the rescue and directed the state Transportation Department to advance the $3 million request to the Emergency Board.

In a budget document delivered to the board on Tuesday, Baird provided the board new numbers from what he had presented just two weeks earlier.

He said earthwork – getting the ground round to support the building and rail spurs – now was estimated to cost $12.5 million. That’s about $2 million more than the board was told in July.

That cripples plans to immediately start work on getting the foundation and warehouse slab done. Project leaders were going to divert money set aside for roads to start that work while waiting for legislators to act.

But the latest budget shifts leave just $100,000 to start building work – nowhere near the sum needed.

But even if legislators come through with an emergency appropriation, project leaders won’t have enough to get the shipping center operational, Baird said.
He said another $3.5 million was needed to equip the terminal building, $2.5 million for roads and utilities, and $250,000 for train engine to shuttle rail cars.

But a road budget of $2 million has been earmarked $3.5 million to equip the main terminal

Baird’s estimate factored in the $3 million from the Emergency Board which will “result(s) in $6 million to completely finish. $3.5 million of this is related to equipping the building,” Baird wrote in the budget document.

Baird also outlined in a cost analysis delivered to the board at the last-minute Tuesday what he termed the inflation index.

News tip? Contact reporter Pat Caldwell at [email protected]


Your guide to the Treasure Valley Reload Center – get the history, purpose and status

Governor pushes extra $3 million for Nyssa rail center to cover costs overruns

Rail board wants to keep Smith, double his compensation for the next year

County judge says $26 million should be enough for Nyssa rail center

Malheur County blocks Enterprise from news conference on rail center

Engineering costs for Nyssa project jump with belated contract change

Nyssa rail center stopped in its tracks – no money for building

EXCELLENCE IN JOURNALISM – Available for $7.50 a month. Subscribe to the digital service of the Enterprise and get the very best in local journalism. We report with care, attention to accuracy, and an unwavering devotion to fairness. Get the kind of news you’ve been looking for – day in and day out from the Enterprise.