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Illinois lawmakers are calling for a break from the freight rail merger

While Kansas City Southern does not currently own any rail lines in the area, Canadian Pacific operates and uses lines throughout the area and in Northern Illinois and, in addition, operates some Metra tracks. It also operates an intermodal terminal at Bensenville and a container yard at Schiller Park.

It is the second letter in a week sent by the group of lawmakers to Oberman. On February 17, they similarly called for a postponement of the merger vote. In that letter, lawmakers cited the negative impact the merger would have on Metra due to the dramatic increase in freight traffic on shared rail lines.

An impact study used as part of the merger proposal, the group wrote at the time, “relied only on data provided by CP and ignored more comprehensive models provided by Metra, the Chicago-region commuter railroad whose tracks CP operates.” .

The Chicago area isn’t the only region expressing concerns about meltdown in the wake of the Ohio derailment. Residents of Davenport, Iowa, in the Houston metro area questioned the heavy traffic of goods and hazardous materials being transported through their cities.

The rail merger was originally agreed to in 2021 and has since fought its way through regulatory hurdles. Even in the days leading up to the Ohio derailment, the Justice Department wrote that it was still skeptical of the merger on antitrust grounds.

In addition, the Railroad Workers United issued a statement calling for the nationalization of the country’s railroads following the Ohio derailment. “As the private North American rail industry has proven unable to do its job, it is time for this valuable transportation infrastructure, like other modes of transportation, to move into public ownership,” the union said.

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