Report Identifies Coal Train Traffic Challenges for MT
Thursday, July 12, 2012
BILLINGS, Mont. - The Powder River Basin has something Asia wants: coal. Plans to send coal overseas mean the coal will travel via trains to western ports. A first-of-its-kind analysis, funded by the Western Organization of Resource Councils, takes a look at some of the effects of increased train traffic, including associated costs.
Report co-author Terry Whiteside says the coal trains will compete with existing traffic for grain, timed deliveries and Amtrak; coal transport is expected to double the tons of freight on the tracks by 2022. He estimates the costs of upgrades to tracks and related infrastructure will reach hundreds of millions of dollars.
Whiteside is calling for everyone to get to the table for discussions.
"What has to happen, as we go forward, is the conversations need to start between all the affected parties. The more conversations that can occur, the more we're going to get to resolutions."
Traditionally, taxpayers foot the bill for additional overpasses, underpasses and other structures, Whiteside explains.
Report co-author Trey Fauth focused on exactly how the additional train traffic would be managed. He identified two "funnels" where almost every train will have to travel, he says.
"The line through Billings and the line from Sandpoint to Spokane will handle virtually all the coal trains. Clearly, to handle this projected traffic, significant infrastructure improvements will have to be made."
Those two sections are already near capacity, he warns.
Other concerns highlighted in the report include congestion of vehicle traffic, the possible delay of emergency vehicles, increased air pollution from coal dust and the trains themselves, and effects on property rights and land values.
The full report is available at www.HeavyTrafficAhead.org.
get more stories like this via email
The youngest North Carolina voters could end up shifting the political landscape of the state in the not-too-distant future. New data from the …
Protests have heightened in New York as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu joins the United Nations General Assembly today. Sonya Meyerson-…
Many across the state of Nevada will celebrate National Public Lands Day tomorrow. Nevadans will be able to visit state parks for free on Saturday…
Across Utah, 10 cities will be using ranked choice voting in the general election in November. In 2018, Utah passed a bill to establish a pilot …
While North Dakota does not have voter registration, civic engagement groups say efforts are still needed to help underserved populations get …
Health and Wellness
Open enrollment begins soon for employer-sponsored health insurance for coverage starting Jan 1. Most people will have multiple options to choose …
Health and Wellness
Health care advocates are urging Gov. Gavin Newsom to sign four bills aiming to lower medical bills, improve transparency, and make health care more …
Rural advocates are supporting the Farmland for Farmers Act in Congress. It would restrict the amount of Iowa farmland large corporations can own…