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Devils Lake Journal - Devils Lake, ND
  • BNSF makes commitment to make improvements

  • WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp received commitments this week from Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) to make specific investments to improve rail transportation in North Dakota, which come following Heitkamp’s calls for action.
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  • WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp received commitments this week from Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) to make specific investments to improve rail transportation in North Dakota, which come following Heitkamp’s calls for action.
    Heitkamp has repeatedly pressed BNSF to address North Dakotans’ concerns regarding rail transportation safety, agriculture shipment delays, and the disruption of Amtrak service. Last month, she called on BNSF CEO Carl Ice to place immediate focus on the major rail service difficulties North Dakotans are facing. Ice responded to Heitkamp outlining a number of critical investments to the system. With the announcement of targeted capital investments in North Dakota as part of the railroad’s system-wide plan, BNSF seeks to expand freight capacity in our state to alleviate congestion experienced by customers.
    To address issues specifically in North Dakota, BNSF notified Heitkamp that it will:
    •Spend $162 million to double track the rail line from Minot, ND to Glasgow, MT to help address major congestion issues for westbound traffic to destinations in the Pacific Northwest
    •Spend $26 million to add sub sidings to address congestion from Fargo, ND to Grand Forks, ND along the Hillsboro subdivision
    •Spend $14 million to add sub sidings to address congestion from Bismarck, ND to Glendive, MT along the Dickinson subdivision
    •Spend $13 million to add sub sidings to address congestion from Minot, ND to Grand Forks, ND along the Devils Lake subdivision
    •Spend $13 million to add sub sidings and an interchange track to address congestion from Canada into the United States through the Port of Pembina along the Noyes subdivision
    •Spend $11 million to invest in Centralized Traffic Control to improve service from Bismarck, ND to Fargo, ND  along the Jamestown subdivision
    •Spend $8 million to add sub sidings and conduct signal work along the track from Fargo to Minot along the KO subdivision
    “With the great increase in rail transportation in North Dakota, BNSF needs to make significant investments so the line can meet the many needs of our state,” said Heitkamp. “Whether it is for rail safety, improved agriculture shipments, or Amtrak delays, our businesses need to know their products will be transported efficiently by rail and North Dakotans must be able to have reliable passenger rail. I have been focused on pushing BNSF and regulators to make much-needed improvements to North Dakota’s rail transportation system. Because of that pressure, action is being taken, but more must be done and you can bet I will stay focused on this important issue.”  
    “In 2014 we plan to make our largest, single-year capital investment in our company’s history.  Our investments of capital in expansion and maintenance in North Dakota will be a critical part of efficiently, and safely, facilitating the growth from the state, in particular, crude and agriculture, and growth elsewhere on the network,” said BNSF CEO Carl Ice.
    Page 2 of 2 - Since the Casselton derailment, Heitkamp has worked tirelessly to understand what happened, and push for improvements to rail safety. She has worked closely with the U.S.
    Department of Transportation Secretary, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, as well as other federal, state, and local officials, and BNSF Railroad. Yesterday, Heitkamp helped bring together Senators, Federal government regulators, and energy and railroad industry leaders to examine ways to improve rail transportation safety.

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