CSX Corp. announced today that its proposed merger with New England’s Pan Am Railway’s Inc. (Pan Am) gained additional support from Maine Governor Janet Mills as well as four shippers, two municipalities, and one member of the New York State Assembly who all filed letters with the Surface Transportation Board (STB) enthusiastically backing the deal.
The transaction will provide significant benefits to shippers, passenger rail users, and local communities as CSX integrates Pan Am into its best-in-class network. In particular, as CSX connects more of New England with its existing 23-state network, which serves two thirds of the nation’s population, CSX’s expected investment in infrastructure upgrades will improve freight and passenger rail service and further enhance the environmental sustainability of rail transportation in New England by shifting truck traffic off the highway.
Governor Mills wrote to the STB of her strong support for the merger, saying, “This transaction has the potential to bring substantial benefits to Maine. The state of Maine relies on rail traffic to deliver goods and support our economy. If the transaction is approved, CSX has indicated that it will make upgrades to track and locomotives to provide improved service, extend positive train control on Amtrak’s Downeaster, and make other improvements to the rail network. These changes would benefit Maine businesses and shippers that rely on freight rail to ship products and goods and positively impact passenger rail service.”
Mark Gasbarro, owner and president of Massachusetts-based F&M Tool and Plastics, said his company “looks forward to the improved service that we will receive from CSX following the approval by the Surface Transportation Board of the merger.”
Mr. Gasbarro’s company wasn’t the only one adding support to the nearly 90 customers, elected officials, and state and local governments that have already said this deal is in the best interest of New England freight and passenger rail transportation. In addition to F&M Tool and Plastics of Leominster, MA, Brunswick Valley Lumber of Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada, and Cooperative Reserve Supply of North Billerica, MA join a growing list of shippers that have publically announced their support for the transaction. Saratoga County, NY and the City of Mechanicville, NY also joined the growing chorus of support for the transaction.
In their letter of support to the STB, Brunswick Valley Lumber noted that the partnership with CSX will allow them to “implement new supply chain solutions and market opportunities”, while enhancing the company’s competitiveness through “lower costs, better service, and improved access to the North American rail network”.
Touting CSX’s historical infrastructure investments, Tony Gentile, general manager of Cooperative Reserve Supply, said CSX’s standards of service performance will lead to “higher velocity, faster equipment turns, and greater consistency” that should “enhance [their] competitiveness.”
On the municipal level, Saratoga County (NY) Administrator Steve Bulger highlights in his letter that freight railroads are oftentimes “the lifeblood” for communities with large and small businesses relying on the services they provide to connect with markets across the country and around the world. A key benefit of the proposed transaction, Bulger notes, is that CSX will “enhance competition through lower costs, better service and improved access” to the rail network in the eastern United States.
Mechanicville (NY) Mayor Dennis Baker sees the deal as a way to increase freight rail service to his community and capitalize on the financial resources CSX brings to the table to undertake “much needed infrastructure improvements” across Pan Am’s rail network.
Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner, a member of the New York State Assembly from New York’s 113th Assembly District, encouraged the STB to fairly review the transaction, stating in her letter: “I support this proposed acquisition and believe my constituents will benefit from its adoption.”
CSX filed an expanded application with the STB on July 1, 2021 as part of an agreement to acquire Pan Am Railways and is awaiting approval.
Copies of the aforementioned support letters can be found below.