The Federal Surface Transportation Board ruled Friday that it will accept and review all public comments received regarding the petition submitted by the City of Fishers, City of Noblesville and Hamilton County (“Owners”) in an effort to railbank the Nickel Plate Railroad. The ruling comes as a response to numerous public comments and motions submitted referencing the Owners’ petition to accelerate the abandonment process so that they can replace the rails with a recreational trail.
The STB received several additional comments after its extended deadline and a lawyer for the Owners filed motions requesting that the board ignore various comments and make an expedited ruling. But the board has decided to take all of those comments into consideration.
“Because of the significant public interest in this proceeding,” reads the written decision, “and in the interest of a complete record that embodies the full spectrum of interests involved…all of those pleadings and letters will therefore be accepted into the record.”
“This is a HUGE milestone,” said Logan Day, President of the Save the Nickel Plate community action group. “The STB received 112 filings, an unprecedented number for this type of proceeding. Of those, 94 OPPOSED railbanking, 8 were from Fishers, Noblesville and Hamilton County, 4 SUPPORTED railbanking and 6 were NEUTRAL or supplemental motions to a filing. The STB is listening to the public!”
Save the Nickel Plate member Mike Corbett stated, “It’s good to know they will take the public’s comments into account. That’s more than our local mayors are doing. It’s a shame we have to rely on the federal government to be heard.”
The STB is giving the Owners until Jan. 25 to submit a final reply to the proceeding. After that date, the STB will close the case and review all submissions, presumably to issue a final decision thereafter.
A copy of the decision can be found at: goo.gl/WfXZQU
About Save The Nickel Plate Inc.
Save The Nickel Plate educates residents along the Nickel Plate Rail about the benefits of choosing to retain their railroads. Currently, Save The Nickel Plate Inc. is working to preserve the track between Fishers and Noblesville. The goal is to reverse the loss of railroad history and preserve the history and heritage of the Nickel Plate Road for the enjoyment and education of all future generations.