Loading...
HomeMy WebLinkAboutRES 870536.17.5 - Abandon MKT RailroadResolution No. 810534o.17 -S- A 0 ,17.A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF GEORGETOWN, TEXAS AUTHORIZING THE FILING OF A COMMENT FOR INTERIM TRAIL USE AND RAIL BANKING OF THAT PORTION OF THE MISSOURI -KANSAS -TEXAS RAILROAD COMPANY RIGHT-OF-WAY BETWEEN MILEPOST U-907.4 NEAR GRANGER, TO MILEPOST U-923.7 NEAR GEORGETOWN, TERAS WHEREAS, the City of Georgetown has been notified by the Interstate Commerce Commission (I.C.C) that the above captioned R.O.W. is proposed to be abandoned for rail service use in conjunction with the pending merger application of Union Pacific Corporation, Union Pacific Railroad Company, Missouri Pacific Railroad Company and the Missouri -Kansas -Texas Railroad Company (collectively UP/MKT); and WHEREAS, the City of Georgetown desires to present its; interest in using said R.O.W. proposed to be abandonedfor interim trail use and rail banking pursuant to 16 U.S.C. 1247(d) and 49 CFR 1152.29; NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF GEORGETOWN, TEXAS THAT: 1.) The Mayor is hereby authorized to execute the Comment and Interim Trail Use Statement attached to and made a part of this resolution. 2.) Copies of this Resolution and Statement shall be forwarded to all parties with interest in this matter. READ, PASSED and APPROVED this 24Th day of November 1987. City o Georgeto n By: Jim Colbert, Mayor ATTEST: Denise Lebowitz Deputy City .Secretary Company Abandonment --in AB -102 (Sub -No. 20) Williamson County, Texas (Finance Docket No. 30800) (Texas Subdivision, Granger to Georgetown) PROTEST AND COMMENT on behalf of the City of Georgetown, TexaJ The City of Georgetown/ Texas, ("Protester"), hereby protests and comments on the proposed abandonment of the Texas Subdivision from railroad milepost U-907.4 near Granger to railroad milepost U-923*7 near Georgetown, a distance of approximately 16.3 miles. Protester seeks appropriate relief to foster public use of this right-of-way in the event that it is abandoned and its use for rail service is permanently discontinued. Protester requests a "CITU" be issued for this abandonment, and that the Commission issue public use conditions (1) barring disposal of the riqht-of-way other than for public recreational trail use for 180 days and (2) precluding the railroad from removing structures (such as bridges, culverts, and so forth) suitable for trail use. The council fully concurs with the verified statement filed by Mayor Jim Colbert on Juno 12, 1987 in this proceedings, copy attached and this request is premised on the understanding that interim trail use is precluded by decisions which continue rail service along the R.O.W. in response to requests from local shippers and/or short -line railroads. The intent of the City being; 1) to support continued rail service as long as a viable operator is in service, 2) to ensure the preservation of the R.O.W. in an undivided conditioni and 5) create interim trail use only in the event that item (1) above cannot be achieved. Public Use Conditions. Pursuant to 49 CFR 1152.28, Protester makes the following justification for the requested public use condition barring the disposal of the tight -of way for 180 days. R. Condition Sought: That the effectiveness of any grant of — authority in the above-entitiod proceeding be postponed for a period of 180 days to enable Protester to negotiate with the railroad to acquire the right-of-way for public recreational trail purposes and other compatible public uses. b. Public Importance of Condition: The railroad right-of-way (ROW) in question here, is in close proximity of San Gabriel municipal Park, the San Gabriel River, and the recreation areas of Lake Georgetown and Granger Lake. Greenbelting, a concept suggested by the President's Commission on American Outdoors, would be accomplished by linking the communities along this right-of-way together with hiking, bikingi and equestrian trails, along with the possible operation of other tourism oriented activities. In additioni the conversion of the existing bridges along the right-of-way to trail Use would useful to the enjoyment and the interconnection of the communities. I c. Period Of Time For Which Condition Effective: 180 day, -a, d. Justification For Imposition Of Time Period: Protester requires a reasonable period of time to evaluate title to the property, ascertain the condition of structures and negotiate with the railroad concerning acquisition for public purposes. Based on past experience, at least 180 days is required for this purpose. Protester makes the following justification for the second public use condition requested (i.e-I barring the railroad from removing trail -related structures): a. Condition Sought: That the railroad be barred from removing bridges, culverts and similar structures useful for trail purposes, and that the railroad be barred from conducting salvage activities that unduly damage the roadbed or that unduly interfere with the operation of existing drainage and/or utility features within or adjacent to the ROW. b. Public Importance Of Condition: Protester does not seek to bar removal of track and ties or other materials of possible positive salvage value to the railroad. However, bridges, culverts and similar structures generally have a net negative value to the railroad, but are useful for trail purposes. Similarly, salvage operations can be conducted without the removal of such structures and without destruction of the roadbed, which if preserved may more readily be converted to trail use. In order to facilitate public recreational use of the ROW and maintain existing incidental uses such as drainage and utility service while at, the same time avoid any significant burden to the railroad, it is appropriate to enter the condition sought. c. Period Of Time For Which Condition Effective: 180 days or termination of CITU, whichever is greater. d. Justification For Imposition Of Time Period: See Justification For First Public Use Condition time period. Application of Section 8(d). In order to avoid possible reversion of the right-of-way to non-public adjacent landowners during the fit` ii of trail use, protester requests that the Interstate Commerce Commission apply section 8(d) of the National Trails System Act, 16 U.S.C. 1247(d), by issuing such orders as are appropriate to transfer this right-of-way for interim trail use and rail banking to Protester or its designee. To this end, Protester makes the following representations: STATEMENT OF WILLINGNESS TO ASSUME FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY In order to establish interim trail use and rail banking under 16 u.S.C. 1247(d) and 49 CFR 1152.25, the City of Georgetown(Interim Trail User) is willing to assume full responsibility for management of, for any legal liability arising out of the transfer or use of (unless the user is immune from liability, in which case it need only indemnify the railroad against potential liability), and for the payment of any and all taxes that may be levied or assessed against the right-of-way owned and operated by mi8souri-Kansas-Toxas, Railroad Company. The property, known as the Texas Subdivision -Granger to Georgetown, extends from railroad milepost U-907.4 near Granger to milepost U-923.7 near Georgetown, a distance of approximately 16.3 miles in Williamson County, Texas. The right-of-way is part of a line of railroad proposed for abandonment in Docket AB-102(Sub-No.20). A map of the property depicting the right-of-way is attached. The City of Georgetown acknowledges that use of the right-of-way is subject to the user's continuing to meet the financial ibilitie8 de8cribed above and to possible future rosponsi reconstruction and reactivation of the right-of-way for rail service. A copy of this statement is being served on the railroad(s) on the same date it is being served on the Commission. In addition to the representations abovei Protester notes that it is a Municipal agency and is financially responsible* Environmental Report: The Interstate Commerce Commission is obligated to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act by preparing an environmental assessment for each abandonment before the environment is authorized in order to determine whether to prepare a full environmental impact statement (EIS). Where an EIS is required (i.e., whore the abandonment may have significant environmental impacts), that document must be considered by the dooision-maker before an abandonment is authorized. The abandonment at issue here passes through a recharge area of the Edwards Aquifer and the San Gabriel River both of which are used to supply water to area residents and, thus can have significant effects upon the environment. Compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act is therefore necessary and appropriate. The Protester believes that the environmental report filed by the railroad is inadequate in that it does not discuss the important potential benefits flowing from preserving the corridor for recreational trail, conservation, and rail banking purposes. The railroad right-of-way would afford an excellent recreational trail for hikers, bicyclists, and horsemen and would if converted to trail use significantly enhance tourism in Williamson County, Texas. In additiont conservation of the right-of-way for trail use and rail banking would provide wildlife habitat and, consonant with national transportation policyj preserve an important transit/utility corridor for future use. This option should be thoroughly explored in any environmental documentation prepared by the agency. Respectfully submitted, J L Jim Colbert, Mayor City of Georgetown, Texas 2119 ' 487 _ C ice J'` `� 487 4 7. r g�(( Q� _ Jarrell \ Schwart, er• ` �Q _ f 7 Com Hill • , 487 �o Satnrin 1109 - Sybert Farm Bartlet/^« 35 95 New Com Hili /Z 81 Theon... J� • ,�.�V`�Y 972 ! KeelersviileO 1, 972 albur 'c 7 r dship O P/ Willls 11 PO Gr /tl"�c Moe ,�; �r WillisG a ..� 75 nepOrt g' e GeOYgetOwn "� 0S 971 ��f 1sr 3311 Hare j0 Sa Fork :MunGip eirMlSSau� o % 7195 Wild .„ ,. y Z,,. oxie 0 G.,". • »b, 971 //% G�QRGETO OLight //`// Sandoval Jonah /I/ Waterloo C levill 1 f Q rLe J OG River .397 OP )I\ rail �t za4a \ Nina ® V Oil Filaia < 144° Jf \ it Taylor Munka-011il 1 2 Noack LU 3s/o Ii it Noack tu Hutt GIFIG rams y ... s7 01l eW 4 to v; Switch 5 9 ... Cre x r. SS UPI 1! / M{16W li. 3344 3Brushil t. '. sf bas Cr I d ersvilie Hayden t� f bap 4� N rman 95 ` ` /• ll ices Crossing p J ® o •. 0{ / C.y^4 lam `�`�"r �,r Structu $ P 1660I/T O �$��619 /t 13 1 �( VI �Couplan _ t SA s 18T2hree Point CO( _,eMGNei 64 9Joliyville Q UNVllg CeleSiloam Pflug Carlson0 0 461andO Austin Execut ve C": I Alrpark Ga DLun r "^ Walnut Birds Nyt:Aviawn ew Sweden Dessau ? — // \ 1 xville 2 IP �' 973 ff 11 ' BEFORE THE INTERSTATE COMMERCE COMMISSION ,DOCKET No. AB -102 (Sub -N-0.1 20) MISSOURI -KANSAS' -TEXAS RAILROAD COMPANY -_ ABANDONMENT WILLIAMSON COUNTY, TEXAS (GEORGETOWN SUBDIVISION, GRANGER TO GEORGETOWN) VERIFIED STATEMENT_ -OF JIM COLBERT, 14AYOR CITY OF GEORGETOWN, TEXAS 1, Jim Colbert, am the Mayor of Georgetown, Texas. My address is P. 0. Box 409, Georgetown, Texas 78627. 1 am submitting this verified state- ment in opposition to the application of Missouri -Kansas -Texas Railroad Company ("Ma") to abandon the rail line that runs from Georgetown to Granger. MKT's abandonment applications demonstrates a total lack of familiarity with the size, character, and potential of Georgetown and the interest of its citizens inrailservice. Rather than the town of 10,000 ,persons depicted by MKT, Georgetown is a rapidly growing city whose population I exceeds 25,000, up from 5,000 only fifteen years ago. There are a least two reasons for Georgetown's recent dynamic growth. The first is that it is a pleasant living environment for people who are employed in Austin, but prefer the quality of life available in a community such as Georgetown. The second is the joint effort by the City and the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce to attract new industry to Georgetown.' Georgetown's potential to attract new industry is directly related to our ability to offer, via the Georgetown Railroad, rail connections to two major rail carriers, the Missouri Pacific and the MKT. A good example of the importance of'rail service to potential Georgetown businesses is our current negotiations with HEB Food Stores, a major grocery company. HEB h I as proposed to build a large distribution center in Georgetown serving Austin and all of northern and eastern Texas. This proposed $1 Million facility would be a major employer'for the Georgetown area. The proposed location of the HEB facility is on the Georgetown Railroad, and I am certain that it was the option of connections with two Class I carriers that attracted HEB to Georgetown. If the abandonment proposed by MKT were approved, these two vita_J rail'connections no longer would be available. Georgetown would be left with the service of only one carrier and as a result, the city's ability to attract such companies as HEB would be adversely affected. In addition, Georgetown's existing industries would suffer a direcl negative impace if the proposed agandonment were approved. Those industries that are located on the Georgetown -Granger line would be deprived of all rail service if the line were abandoned -- service on which they depend for the sucess of these businesses. Other Georgetown businesses that are located on the Georgetown Railroad would lose the important flexibility of being served by two connecting carriers As a result, both the present success and the future development of thote businesses may be severely M Theproposed abandonment will have a direct, negative impact on existing and potential Georgetown business and, consequently, on the people of Georgetown. I urge the Commission to deny MKT's application to abandon the Georgetown -G ranger lini I BY a Jim Colbert,.Mayor JIM COLBERT, being first duly sworn, deposes and says that he has read the foregoing document, knows the facts asserted therein, and that the same are true as stated. SUBSCRIBED AND SWORN TO before me this day of 1987. 618110, J_t� 04 NAT RY=PUBLIC in and for;: ir Uilli son County, - Texas a 5 %so' ommission expires in