On August 25th, 2010 the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) announced the project funding award list for Connect Oregon III. The Albany & Eastern Railroad was awarded funding for two of a total of 41 approved projects. The funding will go towards rehabilitation of the Lebanon M-Line and the Sweet Home branch line of the AERC. These projects were ranked 12th and 35th respectively out of 41.
This marks the third Connect Oregon award issued to the AERC since the program’s inception in 2005. Connect Oregon was developed by the State of Oregon as a means to maintain and revitalize the state’s non-highway infrastructure. So far the program has allowed the AERC to rehabilitate and upgrade most of its existing track and will help to improve safety and operational efficiency.
Work is slated to begin in January of 2011 with an extensive tie replacement program. One of the many objectives of the Connect Oregon program is to help put Oregonians back to work. With this in mind, the AERC has chosen to purchase all of the ties for these projects as well as many other materials from Oregon based companies. AERC has also selected a local rail contractor to perform the work.