A new railroad may be built in northern New Mexico designed to serve the Navajo Nation and enhance area economic development opportunities.
Officials with the Navajo Nation and the San Juan County Commission have signed a Memorandum of Understanding designed to foster development of the project.
If made reality, the railroad would most likely be built along New Mexico Highway 371, which runs north to south through both San Juan and McKinley Counties.
The railroad has long been seen as a necessary component to attract industries to the area, particularly manufacturing plants relying upon the regular shipments of goods and materials.
Cost estimates for actually building the railroad have ranged between $200 million and $300 million, money that would have to be secured from a variety of sources, including the federal Department of Transportation.
Besides exploring the potential for those funding options, Navajo Nation officials have said that they will soon be developing a larger master plan for the Highway 371 corridor that will include the construction of a railroad.
In a statement, Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez noted the more than 70,000 acres of agricultural farmland belonging to the tribe in northern New Mexico, saying that the establishment of a railroad would allow for an easy transport of produce to other parts of the state.
By Garry Boulard
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