"We fully expect the Surface Transportation Board will eventually approve the merger," said Rochester City Council President Dennis Hanson. "We don't object to the Canadian Pacific owning DM&E, we just want the board to recognize that mitigation is necessary with or without the PRB expansion."
The Canadian Pacific has suggested that it will initially spend approximately $300 million over the next several years on making improvements to the existing DM&E rail line, but it is unclear where or how that money will be spent, or whether it will benefit Rochester in any way. It also is unclear whether $300 million is nearly enough to improve DM&E's dilapidated rail line. Ten years ago DM&E claimed more than $800 million was needed to address significant deficiencies in its track and structures.
"Public safety remains the primary concern," said Rochester Mayor Ardell Brede. "It gives us little comfort to know the Canadian Pacific has a good safety record if proper mitigation and adequate infrastructure investment are not part of the deal."
Combining these two railroads as proposed -- one the safest and the other the most dangerous -- does little to lessen the threat a sharp increase in rail traffic or major rail expansion would pose to the people of Rochester and the patients and staff of Mayo Clinic," added Brede. "Even one major accident by a moderately safer railroad would be one too many."
Powder River Basin Contradictions
Today's Mayo Clinic filing also brought to light contradictory
statements from DM&E's current and future owners about the proposed PRB
expansion. Since announcing its decision to purchase the DM&E, the Canadian
Pacific has maintained that it has not yet decided to move forward with the
PRB expansion. However, the DM&E continues to aggressively advance the
project. In January, GOTRAC, an organization supporting DM&E, sent a letter
to the South Dakota Legislature urging swift action to pass a bill that
|SOURCE Rochester Coalition|
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