Town, railway dispute continues

Construction continues on Vermont Railway’s salt shed. It is scheduled for completion on Sept. 30. The rail spur should be complete, or nearly complete by that date as well.
Construction continues on Vermont Railway’s salt shed. It is scheduled for completion on Sept. 30. The rail spur should be complete, or nearly complete by that date as well.

The Town filed a temporary restraining order with the U.S. District Court on Sept. 17 seeking relief from the Court’s June 29 ruling, which allowed Vermont Railway to continue constructing its transload transmodal facility near the banks of the LaPlatte River because of federal preemption. The Town says the ruling was based on incomplete information provided by Vermont Railway and Barrett Trucking.

According to the filing, the Town recently came into the possession of the August 10, 2016, meeting minutes of the Vermont State Infrastructure Bank, which demonstrate that Barrett Trucking had received a $1,457,883.00 loan “to fund a portion of the construction of a transload intermodal facility located on land owned by Vermont Railway (VTR) in Shelburne Vermont” as well as additional funding of a $2,500,000.00 loan.
“It is clearly in great part a Barrett Trucking project with two parties unfortunately scheming to avoid proper land use regulations,” Selectboard Chair Gary von Stange said in a press release.  “The Town of Shelburne, as it has all along, continues to meet its responsibility to protect the health, safety, and general welfare of its citizenry.”

Judge Sessions’ original ruling found that the activities on the property were federally preempted at that time, in part because although Barrett Trucking was to be the facility operator, they had no financial interest in the property and no control over any of the activities there. According to the filing, the minutes of the Aug. 10, 2016 Vermont State Infrastructure Bank meeting, apparently attended by Vermont Agency of Transportation Secretary Chris Cole, suggest that Barrett Trucking has a financial interest in the property which would, potentially, negate the preemption protection granted by the Court.

“We are disappointed by the careless and incorrect accusations made by the town in yet another attempt to delay this project which is vital for the upcoming winter season. We remain confident in the correctness of the court’s June 29th decision, and look forward to serving our Vermont community from the new Shelburne Transload facility this winter,” Selden Houghton, Vermont Railway Assistant Vice President, said in a statement in response to the town’s press release.

The Transload facility is scheduled for completion on Sept. 30.

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