MOUNTAIN HOME, Idaho (Sept. 21, 2017) – Mayor Rich Sykes (right), and former 366th Fighter Wing Commander Col. Jeffery O’Donnell sign a lease for the rail spur Sept. 1. The lease-signing is a temporary but important milestone in a decades-long effort to have the rail conveyed from Mountain Home Air Force Base to the City of Mountain Home. Bringing that effort to fruition currently rests with the approval of the National Defense Authorization Act.

Almost immediately after taking office, Sykes, the City’s Economic Development Team, and Idaho Military Affairs Special Assistant Billy Ritchie combined efforts to work with Idaho congressmen to help move the project along. Those efforts resulted in an amendment to the act from Senator Mike Simpson’s office, which when approved, will finalize the conveyance. Currently, the NDAA has been approved by the House of Representatives and is in the Senate for debate.

The ultimate goal of the conveyance is to establish an industrial park near the spur. In the past, the City has lost some bids to bring businesses to the area based on a lack of available rail transportation for distribution. Sykes hopes the conveyance will prevent similar problems in the future, attract new business and help create a wide spectrum of job and economic opportunities for Mountain Home residents.

“This is an exciting milestone,” said Paula Riggs, Economic Development Director.

Riggs said the unexpectedly fast progress on the project can be directly attributed to the cooperation and perfect timing of everyone involved from the City staff, 366th Fighter Wing leadership and staff, and Congressman Simpson’s office.

“It was all the right people, in the right positions, at the right time,” she said.

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