Durbin, Quinn: STB Decision Prevents Time Deadlines from Allowing CN to Evade Responsibility to IL Communities

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] - U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Illinois Governor Pat Quinn today applauded a decision by the Surface Transportation Board (STB) to ensure that Canadian National (CN) pays their fair share for critical grade separations in Lynwood and Aurora, Illinois and does not evade its responsibility to fund these mitigation efforts due to time deadlines. Today, the STB extended the deadline by which construction must start on these projects in order to maintain CN’s requirement to pay 78.5 percent of the costs of the grade separation in Lynwood, Illinois and 67 percent of the grade separation in Aurora, Illinois – estimated at $68 million total.


“I applaud this decision by the Surface Transportation Board to ensure that Canadian National keeps its commitments to pay for grade separations in Aurora and Lynwood, despite efforts to avoid their obligations through unnecessary time delays,” Durbin said.  “I commend the STB and the Illinois Department of Transportation for holding CN accountable to Illinois communities. Now it’s time to move this project forward and build these grade separations.”


“We must get these vital transportation projects, which are part of the Illinois Department of Transportation’s multi-year plan, underway as soon as possible,” Governor Quinn said. “I want to thank Senator Durbin for his commitment to quickly resolving this matter and keeping these critical projects on track.”


In a 2008 decision, the Board allowed that if a construction contract for the mitigation efforts is not in place by 2015, CN will be automatically released from their mandated financial responsibility related to the projects in Lynwood and Aurora.


After learning that CN had appealed that decision in order to avoid paying their fair share of mitigation efforts in Illinois communities, Durbin sent a letter to the STB urging them to vigorously defend their decision and take specific steps to ensure that CN not abandon their responsibility to Illinois communities. In his letter, Durbin noted that removing the construction contract deadline would eliminate the incentive for CN to run out the clock on meeting their environmental responsibilities to the communities along the EJ&E. A copy of that letter is attached.