Coal, oil train expansion subsidies draw opposition

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PORTLAND — A group of local and state leaders is urging Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber and the state's top transportation officials not to award $6.9 million in subsidies to projects that would aid the expansion of oil and coal train traffic.

The officials, including Multnomah County Chairwoman Deborah Kafoury and the mayors of The Dalles, Albany, Eugene, Milwaukie, Beaverton and Hood River, say the state should do more to prepare for oil train accidents before spending money to expand traffic.

State subsidies shouldn't be awarded without understanding the impact on Oregonians' health and safety, the elected officials say. The projects hold "the potential for grave risk to people, property and the environment," Kafoury and Multnomah County Commissioner Jules Bailey said in a letter.