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TC&W rejects Met Council’s offer on proposed light rail location issues

Twin Cities & Western Railroad (TC&W) President Mark Wegner announced April 19 that the railroad will reject what he called a “take-it-or-leave-it” offer from the Metropolitan Council to resolve issues involving the proposed location of Southwest Light Rail Transit (SWLRT) adjacent to TC&W’s existing freight rail operations.
Wegner outlined TC&W’s objections in a letter sent April 13 to Council Chair Alene Tchourumoff.
“We’ve told the council,” Wegner said, “that its offer violates our principal condition for cooperating with SWLRT, namely that the council must protect (us) from loss or damage to property or degradation of common carrier service occurring because of the light rail or because of Met Council’s breach of its contract obligations to TC&W. We’ve never asked for more, but we can’t accept less.”
As a result, according to Wegner, TC&W will oppose the council’s filings with federal transportation agencies responsible for ensuring the vitality of the nation’s freight rail service. Those agencies, particularly the Surface Transportation Board (STB), must sign off on the council’s proposal before the light rail project can move forward.
Federal law protects the rights of regional freight carriers that rural shippers rely on to move their goods to market. The policies recognize the importance of short-line railroads like TC&W to the uninterrupted and free-flowing movement of interstate commerce, which is essential for the nation’s economic health.
For more about the issue, see the April 25 print edition of The Chronicle.