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CN ups offer to $60 million for safety improvements on EJ&E line
By Marni Pyke | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 10/2/2008 12:06 AM

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In a final pitch to federal regulators, the Canadian National Railway argued that it has upped the ante by $20 million to fix problems caused by adding more freight trains to a suburban rail line.

CN is seeking permission from the U.S. Surface Transportation Board to purchase the Elgin, Joliet and Eastern Railway, a smaller freight company owned by U.S. Steel that runs between Waukegan and Gary, Ind. CN intends to shift freights from its tracks in Chicago and nearby suburbs onto the EJ&E.

Tuesday was the last day to submit comments to the STB on its draft analysis of the merger.

CN contended that issues of increased traffic, emergency vehicle delays, noise and pollution raised by opponents of the plan could be remedied and that using the EJ&E would reduce accidents overall. The railroad has committed $60 million for safety improvements, an increase from its original proposal of $40 million.

Local and congressional leaders objecting to the merger have called the $40 million a pittance. A regional planning agency on Tuesday recommended to the STB that CN pledge $150 million.