ROCHESTER, Minn. — Canadian Pacific and the Mayo Clinic, on behalf of Rochester residents, have conducted their first face-to-face meeting, and officials said they made a commitment to continue their dialogue following the railroad’s recent acquisition of the Dakota, Minnesota, and Eastern Railroad (DM&E).
“We had a very open and constructive dialogue and we left with a mutual understanding of each others needs and concerns,” said Glenn Forbes, CEO of the Mayo Clinic. “We both expressed a strong and firm commitment to work collaboratively, both together and with the community of Rochester, to ensure the highest degree of safety moving forward.”
In September, Canadian Pacific said it planned to purchase the DM&E and its subsidiaries for nearly $1.5 billion. Pending the Surface Transportation Board’s approval, the DM&E will become part of Canadian Pacific’s U.S. rail network.
The STB review process is expected to take less than a year.
In the meeting, the Mayo Clinic and Canadian Pacific outlined their respective priorities and expectations for rail operations in the Rochester area, should the STB approve the transaction, the clinic said.
In February, the Federal Railroad Administration denied the DM&E’s controversial $2.3 billion Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing loan application, saying it posed an unacceptably high risk to federal taxpayers. DM&E applied for the loan to finance construction of a new 280-mile rail line to Wyoming’s Powder River Basin coal mines and to reconstruct approximately 600 miles of existing track in South Dakota and Minnesota.
The loan application had been a source of contention between the DM&E and many community members, including the Mayo Clinic. According to the clinic, Canadian Pacific said it has made no decisions about its potential to access new coal haulage business in the Powder River Basin area.
“CP has a best-in-class process for relationship development and issues resolution with neighbors and communities in the areas through which we operate,” said Fred Green, President and CEO of Canadian Pacific. “Our solid community reputation is fundamentally based on CP’s commitment to operational safety and environmental stewardship. We were pleased to share this with the Mayo Clinic representatives.”
Officials from both sides consider the meeting a success.
“This meeting was the beginning of a long-term constructive relationship based on open dialogue, mutual understanding and compromise,” Forbes said. “We look forward to hosting CP officials here in Rochester during the first quarter of 2008 to build on the progress made in this first meeting, and the opportunity for CP officials to meet with other members of the Rochester Coalition and other key stakeholders on this critically important issue.”
— Railfanning.org Wire Reports