LeClaire approves settlement as Camanche officially opposes Canadian Pacific merger

A Canadian Pacific train engine.
A Canadian Pacific train engine.(MGN / Cropped Credit: Tony Hisgett / Wikipedia / CC BY 2.0)
Published: Sep. 6, 2022 at 10:57 PM CDT
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LECLAIRE, IOWA (KWQC) - LeClaire joined a growing list of Quad City Area governments approving settlements with Canadian Pacific on Tuesday.

The city council unanimously approved a settlement, pending the multi-billion dollar railway merger of CP and Kansas City Southern.

LeClaire will receive $750,000 to alleviate the effects of the potential railway union. This comes as up river, the Camanche City Council unanimously approved a resolution opposing the merger.

According to LeClaire Mayor Dennis Gerard, the city hired a consultant to find out about the impacts of a potential merger, which presented its findings last week. He added if the merger goes through, the city can also apply for grant money to address the effects of increased train traffic.

“It looks like there’s a good plan for us in there,” Gerard said. “We need to go through it in some detail and do a lot more work.”

Meanwhile, Camanche’s City Administrator Andrew Kida said the city would be open to conversations with the rail company if they agree to adequately address their concerns. However, the city council feels their current offer with the railway doesn’t do enough.

During public comment in LeClaire, some residents said they felt the money won’t address the increased noise or negative effects on safety. One resident, Linda Kamp, said the city should’ve consulted the public during the negotiation process with the company.

“I’m really concerned that we’re losing the transparency that we’ve become accustomed to in LeClaire,” Kamp said. “I’d like [the city council] to try to do something about that.”

Gerard said the city did consult with impacted businesses and would be open to more public input if the city receives the money.

“Our intent is that we will come up with a plan based on this consultant’s report that we can then present to the public,” Gerard said.

In a statement to TV6 News, Cindy Bruhn, the city’s tourism manager shared concerns about a potential increase in the length and number of trains in the area.

“I do think increased train traffic of the nature that has been discussed ... will be detrimental to tourism on our riverfront and the businesses near the railroad tracks,” Bruhn wrote. " As far as the long-term impact, I can’t speak to that.”

A member of the Board of Directors for the Buffalo Bill Museum, Debbie Smith, spoke on behalf of the Civic Center and museum. She’s also concerned about access to the riverfront and the materials being shipped.

“Our income depends on those people that comes across that tracks,” Smith said. “Both organizations are totally against this, and ... we’re definitely against any crossing being closed.”

According to railway spokesman, Andy Cummings, a merger would give the company access to manufacturing in Chicago, Detroit and Mexico.

“Primarily what this merger is about is intermodal — which is shipping containers things like consumer goods — and additionally auto parts,” Cummings said.

Ultimately, the Surface Transportation Board will make the final decision on the merger sometime this winter. It will hold a series of virtual and in-person public hearings on the matter. One of which will be held at the River Center in Davenport, on Sept. 13, starting at 6 p.m.