Idaho Public Utilities Commission
Case No. UPR-R-08-01, Order No. 30691
December 5, 2008
Contact: Gene Fadness (208) 334-0339, 890-2712
PUC to conduct telephonic hearing on proposed rail abandonment
Union Pacific Railroad is asking the federal Surface Transportation Board for permission to abandon 1.29 miles of railway from Gibbs to Coeur d’Alene. The line served the Stimson Lumber Company’s DeArmond Stud Mill, which ceased production in May 2008. Union Pacific states the property, which runs along Northwest Boulevard, is being converted for other non-industrial uses.
In order to receive a waiver from a much longer abandonment process, 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 on the line.
The Idaho Public Utilities Commission is required to conduct a public hearing before the proposed abandonment is considered. 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. If there are no objections, the commission will not file comments.
The commission will conduct a telephonic hearing from its headquarters in Boise on Thursday, Dec. 11, at 9:30 a.m. The railroad, any shipper, local government leaders and any other interested parties are welcome to participate either in person in the hearing room at 472 W. Washington St. in Boise or telephonically by dialing 1-866-680-0146. Please enter participant code 295999. This is a toll-free call.
Under the exemption procedure, the Surface Transportation Board will publish a notice in the Federal Register within 20 days after the petition for exemption is field. Thirty days after the notice is published, the railroad is permitted to abandon the rail line unless the STB stays the abandonment.
A copy of Union Pacific’s application is available on the commission’s Web site at www.puc.idaho.gov. Click on the rail icon, then on “Open Rail Cases,” and select Case No. UPR-R-08-01.