A change to Ohio’s transportation budget has put the sale of the Cincinnati Southern Railway to Norfolk Southern on pause, for now.
Mayor Aftab Pureval announced Wednesday, March 15 that a language change to the Ferguson Act, the founding legislation for the Cincinnati Southern Railway, is being removed from the Ohio Legislature’s transportation budget, House Bill 23.
The language change would have shifted proceeds from the sale from paying off debts to funding the maintenance of existing infrastructure. The purchase agreement between the CSR board and Norfolk Southern makes the law change a requirement for the sale to advance to Cincinnati voters.
The language was removed from the Senate version of the transportation bill, but the House still could push for the language to be included. Pureval said he’s willing to work with lawmakers to get out of the “risky” rail industry.
The 19th century, 337-mile freight railway runs from Cincinnati to Chattanooga and is the only city-owned multi-state railway in the country.
Since the announcement of the proposed sale, voters have watched as the citizens of East Palestine, Ohio deal with the fallout of a catastrophic train derailment that released toxic fumes into the village’s air and water.
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