Local leaders fear prospective railway merger could harm Davenport residents

Local News

The city of Davenport might get an increase in railroad traffic in the next few years. The merger between the Kansas City Southern and Canadian Pacific Railroads is said to potentially triple the number of trains running through Davenport.

“They merge — now trains go basically north to south from Mexico to Canada and all those trains are coming through here,” Davenport Mayor Mike Matson said.

He and other local leaders say this would negatively impact the community from numerous angles. Matson cites safety, economic impacts, and noise pollution as a few key issues, but says there are numerous others. Health concerns appear at the forefront of the list of concerns.

“This train track now goes right next to our water facility/sewer facility, much less the river, and all kinds of businesses where people live,” Matson explained.

Representatives from Canadian Pacific say the merger would bring more jobs to the Quad Cities and would promote commerce.

In a statement, a spokesperson wrote, “We will work hard to be a good neighbor and mitigate potential adverse community impacts, and have already met with city leaders in Dubuque and other eastern Iowa communities and continue to communicate with them.”

The decision is expected to come next year, but public comment remains open until March 2022. Matson feels — even if the merger is approved, despite opposition — there are steps that can be taken to minimize negative impact on the community.

“We can’t afford by ourselves to pay for all the things we need to do,” Matson said. “A quiet zone, an overpass — all that that can be worked out. But Canadian Pacific has to step up and help with this, i.e. pay for it.”

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