Report: City of Washington, Iowa Accepts CP Crossing Closure Counteroffer | So Good News
Carolina Worrell, Senior Editor
In a unanimous vote, the Washington (Iowa) City Council has accepted a counteroffer from Canadian Pacific (CP) that would allow the city to secure city funds and “municipal cooperation” for the proposed merger between CP and Kansas City Southern (KCS), which would ” increase train traffic by more than 300% in the area,” the Southeast Iowa Union reported on November 21.
The proposal, as follows Southeast Iowa Union the report, was “the same as that presented by councilors at their previous meeting,” included:
- A cash contribution of $200,000 from CP, for use as the city sees fit.
- Payments of $225,000 from CP for each crossing the city agrees to close.
- A contribution of $55,000 from the railroad for a study of quiet zones.
- Waived costs by the railroad for the removal of crossing surfaces, signals and signs at any crossing the city agrees to close.
according to Southeast Iowa Union report, CP representative Larry Lloyd said, “There was no sunset clause on the offer, meaning the city could take advantage of intersection closures as far into the future as it wanted,” adding, however, that “state and federal fund initiatives will likely go out of money in the next few years.”
“The deal will still hold,” Lloyd said. “It’s conceivable that in five to six years the bipartisan infrastructure law will run out and the $100,000 match could go away, so that’s probably the incentive for [the city] to do it sooner rather than later. But from CP’s perspective, that incentive is always there; we would be happy to close an intersection at any time in the future.”
according to Southeast Iowa Union The report, city officials “pushed the idea of potentially reopening an intersection down the road,” but Lloyd said, “The current regulatory environment made it difficult to reverse closures.”
“The general rail standard is that if you want to open a crossing, you have to close two,” he said. “The long-term plan from the railroads, the Iowa DOT, the US DOT, the Federal Railroad Administration, all of them, is to reduce the number of crossings. The general consensus is that if you ever want to put a crossing back into service, you have to reduce it by two .”
Although the vote to approve CP’s offer was unanimous, several council members said they “still had reservations about [CP-KCS] fusion.”
“We’re not going to improve the offer,” said Illa Earnest, who, according to The Southeast Iowa Union the report made the proposal. “We may have questions that come later, but that’s not going to affect the offer.”
“We are very pleased that the City of Washington has voted to ratify a Community Investment Agreement with CP,” said CP spokesman Andy Cummings Railway age. “From the outset, CP has committed to working proactively with local communities that will see an increase in train traffic as a result of the CP-KCS merger. The agreements CP has reached with Washington and other local communities reflect this commitment.”