Another Indiana town forges mitigation pact with CN to address EJ&E-related concerns
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Another Indiana town forges mitigation pact with CN to address EJ&E-related concerns

Make it three Indiana and six Illinois towns that now have mitigation pacts in place with Canadian National Railway Co. to address traffic and safety concerns surrounding the proposed Elgin, Joliet & Eastern Railway Co. (EJ&E) acquisition.

Yesterday, the Class I announced it reached an agreement with Griffith, Ind. CN agreed to fund quiet zones and safety fencing near schools and parks, mitigate noise, provide emergency response personnel training and address other specific issues in the town. The railroad previously entered into mitigation pacts with Schererville and Dyer, Ind., and Chicago Heights, Crest Hill, Frankfort, Hoffman Estates, Mundelein and Joliet, Ill.

"CN continues to make headway in signing voluntary EJ&E-transaction mitigation agreements," said Gordon Trafton, CN senior vice president-Southern Region, in a prepared statement. "We believe our progress is due to an increasing number of communities along the EJ&E recognizing the substantive benefits of our comprehensive voluntary mitigation program."

CN's proposal to acquire a major portion of the EJ&E from U.S. Steel Corp. for $300 million has met opposition from a number of Chicago-area communities. The Class I estimates its comprehensive voluntary mitigation program will cost more than $60 million. In addition, the railroad will pay $20 million to consultants working on the Surface Transportation Board's (STB) environmental review of the transaction.

The Class I's efforts to negotiate mitigation agreements with municipalities – as well as reach an access agreement with Amtrak and discuss a similar pact with Metra – should help convince the STB to issue a final decision on the transaction by year's end to meet U.S. Steel's deadline for the acquisition deal," CN officials believe.

"We hope the STB will rule soon on the transaction so that its wide-ranging economic and transportation benefits can be realized," said Trafton.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 12/19/2008