Tuesday, February 25, 2014

WINTHROP OFFICIALS: TC&W RELOCATION COULD SERIOUSLY HARM OUR ECONOMY

Two governmental organizations in Winthrop, Minnesota, have gone on record opposing any relocation of Twin Cities and Western Railroad (TC&W) "that would negatively affect the railroad's ability to continue to serve Heartland Corn Products, United Farmers Cooperative and other rural Minnesota businesses at the same level of safety and efficiency they experience under the status quo."

The Winthrop City Council and Winthrop Opportunities, a local development organization, both passed a resolution expressing concern that Winthrop's local economy could be "seriously harmed" if a reroute of TC&W's freight rail service impaired the ability of the two co-ops to continue to ship their goods safely and cost-effectively.

Winthrop Mayor Dave Trebelhorn signed the resolution on behalf of the City Council, while Winthrop Opportunities Board Chair Lance Wiborg signed on behalf of that organization.

The complete text of the resolution follows:

RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF TWIN CITIES & WESTERN RAILROAD

WHEREAS, the Twin Cities and Western Railroad (TC&W) provides a vital freight rail link between dozens of rural Minnesota businesses and national and international markets; and,

WHEREAS, the largest 20 companies served by TC&W ship nearly $1.5 billion in client goods from rural Minnesota communities to destinations around the globe, and employ more than 2,600 Minnesota and South Dakota residents; and,

WHEREAS, TC&W shippers across western Minnesota have invested more than $500 million in building and/or upgrading production, processing and shipping facilities along the existing TC&W route; and,

WHEREAS, these rural companies rely on TC&W freight rail service because it is the safest and most cost-effective shipping alternative available to them; and,

WHEREAS, the Metropolitan Council is currently considering route proposals for the Southwest Light Rail Transit (SLRT) project that would require the relocation of TC&W freight rail service to an alternate route that is less safe and less cost-effective than the railroad's existing route; and,

WHEREAS, Heartland Cort Products (HCP) AND United Farmers Cooperative (UFC), both companies that rely on TC&W freight service, are two of our community's most valued employers and important contributors to our economic health; and,

WHEREAS, our local economy would be seriously harmed if relocation of TC&W's freight rail route impaired the ability of HCP and UFC or other rural Minnesota businesses to continue to ship their goods safely and cost-effectively;

NOW, THEREFORE, be it resolved that the Winthrop City Council officially opposes any relocation of Twin Cities and Western Railroad that would negatively affect the railroad's ability to continue to serve HCP, UFC and other rural Minnesota businesses at the same level of safety and cost-efficiency they experience under the status quo; and,

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that copies of this resolution be forwarded to Governor Mark Dayton, Metropolitan Council Chair Susan Haigh, local legislators and the U.S. Surface Transportation Board.

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