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Davenport City Council unanimously votes to approve $10M railroad merger deal

The City Council accepted the $10M deal from Canadian Pacific as part of accepting the merger with Kansas City Southern, disappointing many concerned residents.

DAVENPORT, Iowa — In a unanimous vote, the Davenport City Council agreed to a $10 million deal as part of the approval for the railroad merger potentially affecting Quad Cities tracks.

The merger, between railroad companies Canadian Pacific and Kansas City Southern, would roughly triple the amount of rail traffic coming through in the QCA  if the deal is completed and approved by federal regulators.

In their meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 10, Davenport City Council members unanimously voted to approve the merger and accept a $10 million dollar settlement from Canadian Pacific to prepare affected areas for the changes with infrastructure improvements.

With the approval, the City of Davenport is joining other nearby communities like Bettendorf and Muscatine, who have already approved the deal.

The move comes after a period of skepticism and disapproval from Davenport residents and people across the Quad City area who voice concerns about safety, accidents, noise, and traffic.

Prior to the vote, residents flooded City Hall to protest the approval.

"I am concerned about accidents with medical emergencies. If you think about the things going on down at the waterfront, you got the Modern Woodmen games going on."

"The merger is a 31 billion dollar project. They are dangling a carrot in front of us that is worth .023 percent of that money."

"Who is Davenport? Are we a victim of circumstance? Because the big boys are coming through town and throwing something at us and we are going to just take it?"

RELATED: 'It's our river' | Former Princeton city council member speaks out against train merger

Davenport Mayor Mike Matson responded to the concerns, saying that the risk involved in not taking the deal was worth going against the public opinion.

"The risk is, do we take the 10 mil? Invest in that money at the riverfront for mitigation or risk the possible zero?" he answered.

Matson's statement alludes to the fact that the merger's overall approval would come at the hands of federal agencies, independent from the City of Davenport or the public.

The merger, if approved, would be estimated to begin in January 2023 and not be complete until 2027.

A public hearing on further matters regarding the merger will be held at the Davenport River Center in September.

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