A cracked foundation.
These are just a few concerns some in the Quad Cities have for the potential $31 billion merger between Canadian Pacific and Kansas City Southern railroads.
“With seven crossings, they blow their horns at seven crossings. And that already happens seven to 10 times a day,” said Camanche City Administrator Andrew Kida. “30 times a day becomes a nuisance.”
Tracks from Muscatine going north through the Quad Cities into Clinton are on the route.
Canadian Pacific is offering money — and it was accepted by Davenport, Bettendorf, LeClaire and Muscatine.
Leaders of smaller areas are not satisfied. Like Camanche, which turned down $200,000 for mitigations, arguing it would cost more than $1 million alone to implement quiet zones.
“Their estimate was $1.1 million dollars and they would be asking us to foot the bill for it,” Kida said. “While they’re paying all these other communities millions of dollars for quiet zones in industrial areas.”
The merger still needs federal approval and LeClaire Mayor Dennis Gerard thinks it’s nearly a sure thing.
“As a city we feel we have done all we can do,” Gerard said. “It’s the same for Bettendorf and Davenport — they’ve all been put into that situation.”
The issue city leaders faced — if they didn’t take the money offered.
“We would be left without any funds for mitigation,” Gerard said.
Michelle Russell opposed Davenport taking the money — and leads an effort to stop the merger now: “Are we a river town or a railroad town? This is essentially a above-ground pipeline carrying oil from Canada, which all of the profits from this merger are realized in Canada, not within the United States.”
She started a petition “literally just asking them to reject it. At the very least stay it and get some more public input.”
We reached out to Canadian Pacific to get their side. The railroad directed us to a document hundreds of pages long.
The next step? The Surface Transportation Board, a five-member body governing all railways, will vote to approve or reject this merger at the end of September in Washington D.C.
But for those like Russell and Camanche Mayor Austin Pruett and Russell, the fight isn’t over yet.
“Andy Cummings and the CP does not respect our community,” Pruett said. “And that at the end of the day, that’s what it comes down to.”
“Your voice does matter,” Russell said.
To sign up to speak at the public hearing, click here.