State lawmakers from Elgin, other suburbs file resolution opposing railroad merger
Add state Rep. Anna Moeller and other suburban lawmakers to the growing opposition to a proposed railroad merger that could triple freight train traffic through Elgin and other communities.
Moeller, an Elgin Democrat, recently filed House Resolution 773 in opposition to the proposed merger of the Canadian Pacific and Kansas City Southern railroads. Elgin and seven other municipalities and DuPage County formed the Coalition to Stop CPKC in late February with the purpose of blocking the merger and has filed its objections with federal regulators.
"Rail transportation is an important part of our economy, but we have to balance it with keeping our communities safe and ensuring traffic can flow freely," Moeller said in a news release. "This proposal presents far too many risks, and I am proud to stand with a bipartisan group of my colleagues from the affected suburban communities we represent to send a strong message of opposition to this proposal."
The legislation mirrors the objections of the coalition members, who say the merger would nearly triple the number of freight trains and increase the lengths of those trains on the Milwaukee District West Line running from Elgin to Chicago. They say more frequent and longer trains would increase crossing delays for commuters, school buses, and emergency responders. There also would be more noise.
The coalition and the legislation also note the greater likelihood of train derailments and the potential ecological consequences.
"There's no community impacted more than the city of Elgin by this merger," Mayor David Kaptain said during a recent city council meeting. "Both because of the number of crossings that we have in our downtown, but also environmentally because the railroad tracks downtown are within 100 feet of the Fox River and a derailment or an accident down there could be disastrous for us."
The resolution has 10 co-sponsors: Democrats Deb Conroy of Villa Park, Terra Costa Howard of Glen Ellyn, Fred Crespo of Hoffman Estates, Maura Hirschauer of Batavia, Michelle Mussman of Schaumburg, Suzanne Ness of Crystal Lake, Anne Stava-Murray of Naperville, and Kathleen Willis of Addison and Republicans Seth Lewis of Bartlett and Jeff Keicher of Sycamore.