CHICAGO — CN announced an agreement with the Town of Schererville, Ind., located 28 miles south of Chicago, that would mitigate the impact on the community of CN’s proposed acquisition of the principal lines of the Elgin, Joliet & Eastern Railway Company (EJ&E).
Under the agreement, CN will assist in the creation and maintenance of quiet zones in Schererville, and take various steps to improve train operations, communications, and emergency preparedness in the municipality.
The agreement is contingent upon regulatory approval of CN’s proposed acquisition of the EJ&E. The transaction is being reviewed by the Surface Transportation Board (STB), which is encouraging CN and communities to reach voluntary mitigation agreements.
“CN is pleased to have reached this mitigation agreement with the Town of Schererville, which is the latest in a series of similar pacts we’ve signed with communities along the EJ&E,” Gordon Trafton, CN senior vice-president, Southern Region, said. “As part of our outreach efforts, we also have mitigation agreements with five other communities – Dyer, Indiana, and Mundelein, Chicago Heights, Crest Hill and Joliet, Illinois. We are receiving a positive response to our mitigation efforts from a growing number of communities, and we are continuing to meet with several other communities on the EJ&E and hope to sign more agreements in coming days.”
CN is committed to meet all of the STB’s established mitigation standards under a comprehensive mitigation program that would cost about $60 million, which is more than 20 percent of the acquisition price – an unprecedented amount for mitigation in a rail merger of this size. This is in addition to $100 million CN has earmarked for infrastructure improvements on the EJ&E.
With the release Dec. 5, 2008, of the final Environmental Impact Statement on the proposed acquisition of the EJ&E, CN hopes the STB will soon issue a positive decision on the transaction, which promises clear transportation, economic and environmental benefits for the Chicago region and the nation.