OpenCms - Letter from President

Message from Rick Ryfa:

January 2008

Dear Griffith Resident:

 

On behalf of the Griffith Town Council and Clerk-Treasurer, we would like to wish you and your family a very happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year.  As we enter into 2009, we face many challenges due to the current economic climate.  The Griffith Town Council is committed to moving Griffith forward with our 2009 agenda.

 

As many are aware, The CN Railroad received approval on December 24, 2008 from the United States Surface Transportation Board (STB) to purchase the EJ&E Railroad.  The Griffith Town Council strongly opposed this transaction.  However, as proceedings of this transaction progressed and various studies were released out of Washington, it became very apparent that the deal would get approved and that Griffith was not going to be given consideration for mitigation that the Town Council felt was necessary.

 

In particular, a Final Environmental Impact Study (EIS) released on December 5, 2008 specifically stated an overpass on Broad St. would not be considered due to the current train traffic that created a “pre-existing conditionâ€�.  Additionally, the study required closing a crossing at Miller or Lake St. and did not require the CN to make Griffith a "quiet zone".  No provisions for funding emergency equipment purchases or economic development were stipulated as well.  Furthermore, the study stated that 80 municipalities with over 4.1 million in population would benefit from the transaction while 34 municipalities with about 1.5 million in population would realize adverse impacts.

 

As a result of these statements and the fact Griffith was generally being ignored in the Final EIS, the Town entered into a voluntary mitigation agreement with the CN Railroad that will ensure Griffith citizens receive proper consideration by requiring the CN Railroad to provide in excess of $6.5 million dollars in mitigation to Griffith which is, in part, summarized below:

 

o       Quiet Zones – Train Whistles will no longer sound anywhere in Griffith

o       Noise Mitigation funding

o       Constant Warning Time Circuitry

o       Real Time Notification System that will display all train traffic at the Griffith emergency dispatching center and allow dispatchers to route emergency vehicles properly.

o       Funding for emergency response vehicles or equipment

o       Funding for Griffith Emergency Responders training and response

o       Funding for fencing, median barriers, crossing gates, etc.

o       Funding for Economic Development

 

If Griffith took no action we would have been at the mercy of the STB to stipulate what mitigation CN would be required to provide.  Judging by statements released, Griffith was mostly ignored and would have received very little consideration.  

 

If the transaction between the CN and EJ&E does become final, the Griffith Town Council will be holding public hearings asking for citizens and businesses to provide us input as to how you want us to allocate mitigation dollars.  Areas of concern include; implementing emergency response routes, providing specific noise reduction measures, safety education, economic development and several other items.

 

Thank you.   May you all have a wonderful 2009.

 

Sincerely,

 

Rick Ryfa

Griffith Town Council President