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Railroad bypass plans could be nixed

By DAVID TEWES
Oct. 19, 2010 at 5:19 a.m.


Just when it appears Victoria is making headway on getting overpasses built, another transportation project is in jeopardy.

Mayor Will Armstrong told the city council Tuesday as far as he's concerned, Kansas City Southern's plans to build a bypass around Victoria are dead.

He said the railroad wants the city to purchase the right of way for the bypass and hold it until the company is ready to build the bypass.

"When they first came to us, we were assured if it went forward, the city would have to put no money in it whatsoever," Armstrong said.

He said now Kansas City Southern wants the city to apply for federal grants to buy and hold the property. If the grants don't cover the entire purchase cost, then the company wants the city to use its own money, he said.

The costs could amount to as much as $8 million, Armstrong said.

City Attorney Thomas Gwosdz said the city would also be required to provide a 10-percent match for the federal grants. "We don't know how much money that would be."

Council Member Tom Halepaska said he's hopeful Kansas City Southern will come up with a proposal that's more mutually agreeable to both parties.

"Perhaps they'll come back to the table with an offer that's more viable," he said. "I know it would be a positive not to have the trains running through town, but not necessarily under the proposed agreement."

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