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Springfield rail consolidation stakeholders should meet again, Sen. Durbin says


U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) is proposing several rail industry constituents hold a second meeting to clear up recent confusion about cost estimates and get “back on the same page” regarding a rail consolidation effort in Springfield, Ill.

A previous meeting held two years ago resulted in an agreement between the major stakeholders, Durbin said in a prepared statement. The agreement called for environmental and alternatives studies to be completed before April 2012, a deadline federal officials believe can be met, he said.

The senator sent a letter to all the stakeholders requesting their participation in another meeting. They include Illinois Department of Transportation Secretary Gary Hannig; Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph Szabo; CN President and CEO Claude Mongeau; Norfolk Southern Corp. Chairman, President and CEO Wick Moorman; Union Pacific Railroad Chairman, President and CEO Jim Young; Amtrak President and CEO Joseph Boardman, Sangamon County Board Chairman Andy Van Meter, Springfield Mayor Mike Houston and Hanson Engineering representatives. Durbin plans to extend invitations to other members of Illinois' congressional delegation to discuss federal financing options and challenges.
“As you may know, there have been several conflicting accounts regarding the size, scope and price of rail consolidation options currently under review,” wrote Durbin in the letter. “I am requesting participation from FRA, IDOT, the railroads and Amtrak to make sure all of us fully understand the positions of these critical stakeholders. Hearing from all parties will give us a clear understanding of the stakeholders’ positions and afford us the opportunity to ask critical questions about their role in the rail consolidation projects under review.”

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 6/28/2011