When CN acquired the Elgin, Joliet and Eastern Railway Company (EJ&E), it made a commitment to make a difference to the communities on the EJ&E – through innovation.
With the communities along the arc of the EJ&E, CN has voluntary mitigation agreements (VMAs) to fund innovative construction projects, including:
- The creation of quiet zones
- Noise and safety mitigation
- Communications and emergency response training
- Industrial development
A good example: CN has a VMA with the City of Joliet, Illinois to build a $2.5-million grade-crossing bypass — funded by CN — that will improve vehicular traffic flows and enhance rail safety in the city's Forest Park area, improving the quality of life of the residents there.
In addition to its bypass agreement with Joliet, CN has signed voluntary mitigation agreements with 27 of the 33 communities – or 82 per cent – located along the EJ&E in Illinois and Indiana.
CN is also working closely with communities on the EJ&E that do not have VMAs with the company to ensure implementation of safety and environmental conditions required by the Surface Transportation Board, a U.S. regulatory agency charged with reviewing proposed railroad mergers.
CN is prepared to explore further VMAs with these municipalities if they wish to pursue talks with the railroad – and let innovation take its natural course.