Months after many expected the deal would be completed, the state Railroad Board now expects to sell the old Napa-Platte line to Iron Horse Development Company at the board’s June 19 meeting.
“I think we’re really close, actually — really, really close,” Lindholm said.
The board’s chairman, Chet Groseclose Jr. of Sioux Falls, welcomed that news.
“There’s concern among board members, myself included, about what’s going on here,” Groseclose said. “I can’t say with enough urgency we need to get it done.”
The current lease with the Napa-Platte regional railroad authority expires June 20.
Various members of the authority and other citizens from the southeastern counties along the old route want the line to remain in state ownership, so the long-proposed Wagner Native Ethanol project might buy part of it someday.
The line was among those purchased by state government when the Milwaukee Road went bankrupt in the late 1970s.
There will be a clause in the contract that gives Wagner Native Ethanol a window of time to exercise an option to buy part of the line from Iron Horse Development.
In 2006 the state board officially adopted a resolution to sell 54 miles of the line from near Napa Junction to the ethanol project for $1.49 million.