Canadian Pacific and Kansas City Southern railroads haven’t made many public statements to people in the Quad Cities who oppose their proposed merger.
One Quad-Citian on Wednesday made a statement against the merger, and traveled clear to Washington to do it.
The railroads want to combine their operations in a merger that would triple the amount of traffic on the Canadian Pacific tracks that run through Muscatine, the Quad Cities and Clinton. Canadian Pacific offered financial incentives to local governments to go along with the merger.
Executives from both railroads maintain the merger would be good for everyone, saying the like-minded railroads have a commitment to safety and customer service.
The Surface Transportation Board is holding the hearings where, on Wednesday, former Davenport Mayor Bill Gluba spoke out against the merger. Gluba spoke as a private citizen, and not on behalf of any governmental agency, and paid his own way.
Gluba focused on the nine miles of public parkland along the Mississippi River adjacent to the rail line that would go from about eight trains per day to more than 20. He pointed out thousands of people attend events in this area several times per year.
“This is the railroad stretch that poses the most severe threat to the lives of people should a derailment take place, and derailments do happen all the time. Davenport has accommodated the handful of freight trains. But to jump to 22 or more trains per day – many carrying flammable shale oil from Canada – will present a clear and present danger to thousands of people,” Gluba told Local 4 News. He called the merger a disaster waiting to happen.
Gluba suggests a subway-style tunnel as a possibility to protect Davenport. He says the $10 million Canadian Pacific is giving Davenport for rail improvements isn’t nearly enough, and asks for a $3 billion mitigation fund for affected cities.