Part of Moscow rail line proposed for abandonment
The Idaho Public Utilities Commission will conduct a telephonic hearing on Tuesday, May 29, in response to a petition by Palouse River & Coulee City Railroad to abandon 0.2 miles of rail line near downtown Moscow.
The rail line and right-of-way proposed for abandonment generally runs between College Street/8th Street and the new bridge on U.S. Highway 95, in the southern part of downtown and to the east of the University of Idaho campus.
The railroad is seeking approval from the federal Surface Transportation Board for an exemption from a longer process that is allowed for rail lines where the proposed abandonment is of limited scope and does not affect national rail policy. The exemption, if allowed, permits abandonment within 20 days after a notice is published in the Federal Register. The railroad asserts the rail line is impeding commercial development in the area. It further asserts that only one car was shipped on this segment of the line during 2006 and the shipper, Moscow Idaho Seed Company, has since closed. A parallel rail line will remain active.
The commissionís 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. If there are no objections, the commission will not file comments.
The commission will conduct a public telephonic hearing to determine if there is opposition to the abandonment. The hearing is scheduled for May 29 at 10 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time (11 a.m. MDT). Persons wishing to offer testimony or listen to the proceedings can call 1-601-354-1086 and enter Participant Code 263892. For those who can attend the hearing, it will be conducted in the commissionís hearing room at 472 W. Washington St., Boise.