PIERRE, S.D. (KELO AM) – Today Gov. Dennis Daugaard filed a petition with the federal Surface Transportation Board (STB) raising questions about the acquisition by the Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) of the Dakota, Minnesota & Eastern (DM&E) Railroad.
“I am asking the Surface Transportation Board to determine whether or not the Canadian Pacific has met its obligations to the people of South Dakota,” Gov. Daugaard said. “This examination is imperative because past support for the Canadian Pacific’s purchase was based chiefly on promises it made to the STB.”
The petition serves as an official inquiry with the STB to determine if the CP lived up to the representations it made while seeking to acquire the DM&E. The Governor has asked the state Attorney General’s Office to assist in filing the petition.
“Rail infrastructure is critical to businesses in South Dakota, especially agriculture,” Gov. Daugaard said. “We must do everything we can to ensure proper rail service for our state.”
Based upon the CP’s representations, the STB approved the company’s purchase of the DM&E Railroad in 2008. Prior to the acquisition, the DM&E provided shipping service from South Dakota to critical transportation hubs, including Minneapolis, Chicago and Kansas City. The CP indicated recently that now it may sell the line west of Tracy, Minn., meaning the new buyer of the line would have limited or no opportunity to ship cargo beyond Tracy unless the cargo is shipped using the CP.
Since last fall, Gov. Daugaard and members of his administration have been in contact with CP to examine whether the CP had fulfilled its promises to the STB. Despite some communication from the CP, the Governor’s questions have largely gone unanswered.