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Residents voice concern over proposed railroad

Residents voice concern over proposed railroad

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) - La Crosse residents are raising their voices against a proposed railroad route that would cut through the city's north side.

The route is being proposed by railroad company BNSF and would cut through Forrest Hills Golf Course off Main Street. Monday, residents voiced their opinions on the project to city leaders at a public hearing.

"People have spoken out and said how disruptive the current number of trains has been on their homes," said Maureen Freedland of Citizens Acting For Rail Safety. "We are asking the city to in its discussions with Burlington Northern, consider the neighborhood needs and the needs of citizens and renters as a train expansion is considered."

At the meeting, citizens addressed noise, safety and environmental concerns.

"That will have a significant impact on noise and vibration, and it will become even more uncomfortable," said Richard Pein, a La Crosse resident who lives roughly 650 feet from the proposed project lines.

The CARS organization asked the city to create a task force to look into the hazards of railroad noise and vibrations, and for BNSF to create a compensation fund for any potential problems in the future, among other requests.

A BNSF spokeswoman said the company has listened to citizens' concerns, and is still discussing the proposed second line with the city. No plans to build have moved forward yet, as the city continues to search for an answer to the question of who owns the land upon which the project would be built. Mayor Tim Kabat said at the meeting BNSF would like to begin building as early as this fall.

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