Goldman Sachs Sees Gold in Humboldt, CA

Humboldt's port shows promise, but would require massive investment. Goldman Sachs expresses an interest, surprising locals.

The unsolicited interest shown by the global investment bank, Goldman Sachs, in a Humboldt Bay container port and North Coast railroad revival shakes up the conventional wisdom of many that there would be ice cubes in hell before anyone would cough up millions of dollars for those projects.

"Goldman Sachs has its fingers in major deals around the world as adviser to large corporations, governments and wealthy families and individuals. They're a top dealer in federal securities, guide giant mergers, and put together some of the biggest private equity deals.

Its vice-president for public sector banking, Jeffrey Holt, wrote a letter to the Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District commissioners that his organization is looking at the rail-port combination as a potential investment package to put up for bid. He noted that pension funds have $60 billion worth of investment capital that they are looking to put into long-term public infrastructure.

Improvement of the harbor to handle container ships and relieve pressure on other West Coast ports depends upon a railroad to move goods in and out efficiently. But with estimates of restoring the rail line from Willits through the Eel River Canyon estimated at hundreds of millions, and port development looking at costing as much as $40 million for starters, the idea of state funds or private investment seemed like a pipe dream."

Full Story: New light shed on port-rail

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