Thursday, June 03, 2010

STB chief says CN must adhere to EJ&E pact

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Surface Transportation Board Chairman Dan Elliott Wednesday said Canadian National must hold to the terms STB announced when CN acquired the Elgin, Joliet & Eastern Railway. “We are fully behind that decision,” said Elliott, “and we will defend it in court.”

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That includes a requirement that CN fund the bulk of the cost of railroad overpasses in Lynwood and Aurora, Ill., which CN reportedly has challenged.

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Elliott met with a group at the New Lenox, Ill., village hall, including some representing The Regional Answer to Canadian National (TRAC), which still opposes the acquisition and seek STB’s decision approving the purchase to be reversed. Opponents argue that impact on the environment and their communities have been more than anticipated. Elliott did not suggest such a reversal was likely, however.

CN spokesman Patrick Waldron said 22 communities along the EJ&E route have signed voluntary mitigation agreements with the railroad. CN has committed $60 million in mitigation projects altogether, exclusive of the two overpasses in contention.