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Illinois congressional leaders pen opposition letter to Canadian Pacific, Kansas City Southern rail merger

The merger would significantly increase rail traffic in many places; especially in the Chicagoland area, where lawmakers say it would have severe impacts.

WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — Several Illinois lawmakers joined together to pen a letter opposing the merger of the Canadian Pacific and Kansas City Southern railway companies.

The letter, addressed to Surface Transportation Board Chairman Martin Oberman, urges the railroad regulation agency to oppose the merger. It was signed by U.S. Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, as well as District 8 Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi and District 3 Rep. Marie Newman, all Democrats.

The lawmakers say that the merger and subsequent increase in rail traffic would significantly impact the already highly-trafficked railways of the Chicagoland area, causing a number of issues for local residents.

They say that Chicagoland communities would see increased noise pollution, more blocked crossings, worse safety conditions, and critical delays in commuter rail, which many in the urban area rely on for necessary transportation to work and other important locations.

"We write to express our concern about the impacts of the proposed merger between Canadian Pacific (CP) and Kansas City Southern (KCS) railroad on our local communities in Illinois," the lawmakers wrote. "The proposed merger will reportedly more than triple freight rail traffic on the CP rail line that runs between Bensenville and Elgin, Illinois.  We are concerned this increase will have significant impacts on noise, emergency response time, commuter rail operations, the environment, and pedestrian safety.  We oppose the merger as currently proposed, and we urge the Surface Transportation Board (STB) to give our concerns all due consideration as you review the proposed merger and consider potential mitigation and oversight measures."

Many residents of the areas impacted by the merger have already spoken out against the merger, leading 11 Illinois communities to file comments opposing the merger. The merger also faces concerns across the Mississippi River in several impacted Iowa communities.

The merger recently made one small step forward after the Bettendorf City Council voted to approve the deal. Other communities, like Davenport and LeClaire, are still considering the merger.

You can read the full text of the letter here.

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