Roskam: In CN's Eyes, We are Nothing More than Speed-Bumps on the Way to an Enhanced Bottom Line
Congressman Peter J. Roskam (R-IL) today issued the following statement for the Congressional hearing being held in response to the Surface Transportation Board's (STB) consideration of the proposed acquisition of the EJ&E rail line:
"Our local communities were minding their own business when Canadian National came along, and are now forced to address problems and challenges they did not ask for. I am encouraged that Chairman Oberstar has joined our legislative effort with a well-thought out reasonable approach to reforming the STB's process.
"A railroad can generally point to advantages it brings to a community to outweigh the impacts of increased traffic. Here, the STB has predicted a 28% increase in accidents along the line, hundreds of jobs lost in the region, an increase in emissions, and an increase in fuel consumption. Freight traffic is supposed to bring jobs and conserve fuelwe get neither of these benefits. In CN's eyes, we are nothing more than speed-bumps on the way to an enhanced bottom line.
"Further, the STB acknowledges that substantial obstacles will face completion of the STAR Line, but has not offered any recommendation for pursuing the completion of this revolutionary mass transit system. Why should the interests of a private company trump the careful work and planning that the public has invested in the STAR Line thus far? Gas prices are squeezing families today, and congestion is clogging our roadswe need new and alternative forms of transportation. The STAR Line will provide that, and I remain committed to seeing it come on-line.
"We can and should do better than CN's heavy-handed push. My Reaching for the STAR Act and Chairman Oberstar's STB reform legislation will provide our communities the protection they need in this process, and preserve the STAR Line as a viable, continuing project to enhance the quality of life of the families of the Sixth District and the rest of the region."