Tuesday, August 5, 2008

EJ&E Railroad updates and meeting with Pete Visclosky

Are you ready to get stopped at railroad crossings three times as often as you currently do, and then wait two and a half times longer for the train to pass? Would you like three times as many freight trains, like the one that badly injured three people in Griffith on July 25, barreling through your community every day? Do you want to breathe in more pollution because of extra trains chugging through and more idling cars stopped at railroad crossings? Would you compromise economic development initiatives like the South Shore Line expansion and the Gary/Chicago International Airport expansion for the interests of one corporation? For me, the answer to all of those questions is a resounding NO!

Unfortunately, all of those situations could become a reality if the Surface Transportation Board (STB) puts CN’s interest ahead of ours and allows CN to acquire the EJ&E Railroad. On July 25, the STB issued its Draft Environmental Impact Study (EIS) of the CN/EJ&E deal, which analyzes the environmental impacts on the surrounding communities and the natural environment that would occur if this acquisition takes place. It also sets forth the STB’s recommended mitigation measures, which I deem deficient. From the Draft EIS, it is clear that the impact of the acquisition on Northwest Indiana would be a severe change in our quality of life.

The EJ&E line running through the region would, on average, see a three-fold increase in the number of trains per day and an increase in train length from 2,590 feet to 6,321 feet. The result would bisect communities, impede the flow of automobile traffic, increase emissions, and add public safety hazards. The proposed acquisition also would create new obstacles to the expansion of the South Shore Line and would hinder the expansion of Gary/Chicago International Airport. None of that would be good for Northwest Indiana.

Beginning August 1, you will have 60 days to comment on the Draft EIS as the STB works toward a final ruling on the deal. Click here for more information on how to comment.

Additionally, the STB has scheduled an open house and public meeting to be held in Gary at IU Northwest, 3400 Broadway, on Wednesday, September 10, from 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Limiting the comment period to 60 days and holding only one meeting in Northwest Indiana is grossly inadequate and an affront to the region that I cannot stand for. I will appeal to the STB to extend the public comment period and hold additional meetings in Northwest Indiana. Together, we can make sure Northwest Indiana’s voice is heard.


Pete Visclosky
Member of Congress

Washington Office
2256 Rayburn
House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
phone: (202) 225-2461
fax: (202) 225-2493

Northwest Indiana Office
701 East 83rd Avenue, Suite 9
Merrillville, IN 46410
phone: (219) 795-1844
(888) 423-PETE (toll-free)
fax: (219) 795-1850

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