BNSF applies to abandon Coeur d’Alene rail line
The BNSF Railway Company intends to file an application with the federal Surface Transportation Board to abandon 2.12 miles of railroad right-of-way in Coeur d’Alene. The rail line once served the Potlatch Mill location that is now The Coeur d’Alene Golf Resort.
BNSF indicates it will file a petition with the Department of Transportation’s Surface Transportation Board to exempt the railroad from a longer abandonment process and receive authorization in as few as 30 days. To be eligible for the exemption, the railroad must certify that no rail traffic has moved on the line for the past two years and there are no outstanding complaints about the lack of rail service.
The Idaho Public Utilities Commission does not make rail abandonment decisions. The commission’s role is to determine if the abandonment 1) adversely affects the area being served, 2) impairs the access of Idaho shippers to vital goods and markets, and 3) whether the rail line has the potential for profitability. If the commission determines the proposed abandonment is not in the public interest, it files comments and represents the state before the Surface Transportation Board.
The section of right-of-way proposed for abandonment generally runs from Coeur d’Alene City Park adjacent to Northwest Boulevard, across the front of The Coeur d’Alene Resort, down East Front Avenue, following East Mullan Avenue and terminating at the resort. Commission staff’s initial information about the affected right-of-way indicates that the majority of the track was removed in the 1980s. Consequently, there are no shippers on the line.
Persons desiring to intervene in this matter to present evidence must file a Petition to Intervene with the commission on or before April 26. Persons who want to present their views without rights of participation and cross-examination are not required to intervene and may comment in writing. Written comments are accepted via e-mail by accessing the commission’s homepage at www.puc.idaho.gov and clicking on "Comments & Questions." Fill in the case number (BNR-R-06-1) and enter your comments. Comments can also be mailed to P.O. Box 83720, Boise, ID 83720-0074 or faxed to (208) 334-3762.
A full text of the application, along with other documents related to this case, are available on the commission’s Web site. Click on “File Room” and then on “Rail Cases” and scroll down to the above case number.