Fed Agency to Hold Railroad Merger Public Hearing
A federal agency will hold a public meeting tonight at the River Center in Davenport to discuss the proposed merger of Canadian Pacific Railway and Kansas City Southern.
If approved, the number of trains traveling through cities and towns will double or triple. And many people are concerned about increases in traffic delays, noise, and public safety. That includes worries that first responders may have to wait for trains to pass before they can reach properties on the other side of the tracks.
Bettendorf and Davenport have already agreed to $3- and $10-million-dollar settlements, respectively, with Canadian Pacific and will not oppose the merger.
On the other hand, in Camanche, the deal would affect more than 1,200 people who live between the railroad tracks and the Mississippi River. The city council rejected a $200,000 offer from the company and will oppose the $31 billion acquisition.
Tonight's Surface Transportation Board public meeting will run from 6:00-8:00 at the Davenport River Center. The first, in-person meeting was held Monday (September 12th) in Itasca, Illinois. That meeting ran an extra hour-and-a-half due to the large number of people who wanted to speak.
On Wednesday and Thursday, the third and fourth in-person public meetings will be held in Excelsior Springs, Missouri and Beaumont, Texas, respectively.
Last week, the board held two of three online public meetings, and the third and final online public meeting is scheduled for Monday, September 19th. The board has extended the deadline to accept written comments until October 14th. Those may be submitted by mail or online HERE.
In a summary of the board's major conclusions, it said, "Apart from train noise, which could result in adverse impacts at some locations, the potential adverse impacts of the Proposed Acquisition would be negligible, minor, and/or temporary."
This follows a bidding war for Kansas City Southern between Canadian Pacific and a different railroad company, Canadian National. That ended nearly a year ago when the Surface Transportation Board rejected Canadian National's bid mainly due to duplicate track miles.