Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Mayo Clinic Looses Rail Routing Battle

I mentioned a number of months back that the Mayo Clinic was trying to influence a decision being made by the Surface Transportation Board (see: “Hazmat Rail Routes and the Mayo Clinic”) on the sale of the DM&E Railroad. Last week the STB approved the sale of the DM&E to the Canadian Pacific Railroad. None of the security and safety rules requested by the Mayo Clinic were included in the approval.


The Mayo Clinic tried to use the comment procedures associated with the STB sale approval process to convince the STB to include a variety of hazmat routing and operational restrictions on trains transiting Rochester, MN. It would have been very unusual for the STB to include such restrictions in their approval of the sale of a railroad, but the Mayo Clinic does have some interesting political connections that might have been able to overcome bureaucratic inertia.


If the Mayo Clinic and the City of Rochester had been successful in their bid for influence, it would have set a precedent for other cities to try to have some say in the routing of hazmat shipments through their urban areas. Still, I would not be surprised to see others try to use the same venue, the STB approval of the sale or merger of railroads, to try to affect hazmat routing decisions.

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