PUBLIC HEARING AND CURRENT STATUS
The WSOR petition on the proposed grade crossing closures was considered by the OCR at a two-part Public Hearing held on Wednesday, February 15, 2012 (Primarily for expert testimony from the Parties of Record (WSOR, City of Madison and MG&E) and on Thursday evening, February 16, 2012 (Primarily to take public testimony).
On Wednesday, the WSOR presented their reasons for wanting to close the crossings, primarily their belief that it will create a safer corridor, particularly as they plan to operate at higher speeds in the near future. City staff presented considerable testimony in opposition to the closures for the reasons described below. MG&E also opposed the closures because of the difficulties it would create accessing and leaving their many facilities in this area.
On Thursday, about 16 elected officials, business leaders, business owners, planners, long-time residents and people who work in the area testified against the closures, citing vehicle safety, traffic congestion, harm to businesses and difficulties for pedestrians and bicycles as major concerns. An important theme was the need to protect and nurture the economic revitalization efforts that are beginning to show real results. No one testified in favor of the closures.
The next step is that the OCR will issue a "Proposed Decision" approving, modifying or denying the railroad's petition. After that there will be a 15 day statutory comment period before the Commissioner of Railroads issues the Final Decision. We will try to post the Proposed Decision when it is available. You may request that a copy be sent or emailed to you by contacting:
Douglas Wood, Legal Counsel
Office of the Commissioner of Railroads
PO Box 7854
Madison, WI 53707-7854
By fax at: (608) 261-8220 or by email at email@example.com
People should NOT phone the OCR with comments about the merits of the proposed closings, but they may call the OCR if they have procedural questions. Contact Tom Running at (608) 266-7607.