Washington accepts railroad counter-offer | Southeast Iowa Union

Cars in Washington stop in front of a passing Canadian Pacific Train (Kalen McCain/The Union)

Washington Mayor Jaron Rosien

WASHINGTON — The Washington City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to accept a counter-offer from the Canadian Pacific Railroad and sign an agreement securing city funds from the company and municipal cooperation for a proposed merger between CP and Kansas City Southern that will increase the train would increase traffic by over 300% in the area.

“I really wanted to make sure we got the best possible deal and I think we are,” Mayor Jaron Rosien said. “This is the last, best, and final offer…it doesn’t get any better. Money has flowed into other communities, we are one of the last ones on the table, so to speak.”

The proposal was the same that Council members had tabled at their previous meeting. It contains:

  • A $200,000 cash payment from the railroad to be used at the city’s discretion
  • Railroad payments of $225,000 for each crossing the city agrees to close
  • A $55,000 grant from the railroad for a quiet zone study
  • Railroad waived the cost of removing crossing surfacing, signals and signs at crossings that the city is willing to close

CP representative Larry Lloyd said the offer did not include a sunset clause, meaning the city could use the junction closures as far into the future as it wanted. Still, Lloyd said state and federal fund-matching initiatives would likely run out of money for the next few years.

“The agreement would still stand,” Lloyd said. “It’s conceivable that the bipartisan infrastructure law might expire in five to six years and the $100,000 combo could go away, so that’s probably the incentive for you to do it sooner rather than later.” But from CP’s perspective, that incentive is always there, we’d love to close an intersection at any time.”

City officials floated the idea of ​​potentially reopening an intersection down the road, but Lloyd said the current regulatory environment made closures difficult to reverse.

“The general railway standard is if you want to open one crossing, you have to close two,” he said. “The long-term plan, by both the railroads, the Iowa DOT, the US DOT, the railroad administration, everyone, is to reduce the number of crossings. The general consensus is that if you ever want to bring an intersection back into service, you would have to cut it by two.”

The vote to accept the offer was unanimous, although some council members said they still had reservations about the merger.

“We will not improve the offer,” said Illa Earnest, who filed the application. “Maybe there will be questions later, but that won’t affect the offer.”

Councilor Steve Gault was more outspoken.

“I feel like there’s a gun put to my head,” he said. “That will be paved.”

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