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Congressional Panel Votes Wednesday On Golden Spike Designation

Andrew J. Russell/via Wikimedia Commons
The ceremony commemorating the driving of the golden spike on the first transcontinental railroad in North America, May 10, 1869.

The Golden Spike National Historic Site is the centerpiece of legislation making its way through Congress this week.

U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop wants to give the landmark a new designation under his bill. It would become the “Golden Spike National Historical Park,” and it would become part of a new transcontinental railroad network across the country. 

Co-sponsored by the three other Utah House members, Bishop’s bill would help commemorate a 150-year anniversary next year: The setting of a railroad spike at Promontory, Utah, which joined the East to the West across America.

“Not only is Golden Spike the place where the United States was finally unified for the first time, and we were able to go ocean to ocean," said Bishop in presenting his bill recently, "But in that entire area are a whole bunch of other entities that illustrate how transportation has changed the course of America.

U.S. Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif., called Golden Spike a significant event in American history that is often overlooked.

“It really did make a quantum in the connectivity of the country,” he said. “It literally joined the country together.”

“It’s a great story to be told,” agreed Doug Foxley, a Box Elder County native who’s heading up the 150th celebration and also testified on behalf of the bill.

The Golden Spike legislation is one of four Utah-focused bills headed for a vote Wednesday in the House Resources Committee, which Bishop chairs.

Rep. Mia Love (R-Utah) has a bill to transfer 2.6 acres of forest service land to Juab County. Rep. John Curtis’s (R-Utah) measure would streamline permitting for broadband projects in rural areas. And Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah) has proposed controversial legislation to allow a highway through a preserve for Mohave Desert Tortoises in southwestern Utah.

The bills still need to pass the House and Senate, and get the President’s signature, before they become law.

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