Now is the Time for BNSF Talks

Why do you care if Bonner County has a skilled manager as commissioner? The proposed new railroad bridge across the Pend Oreille River is one reason. It’s very likely to be built, especially as the first permit has been issued.

But, right now is the only time Bonner County and its EMS, fire districts and cities have leverage for needed improvements. If a trainload of oil or coal overturns into the water, we have to send to Spokane or Whitefish for emergency supplies. BNSF has provided some containment materials but not enough for a major spill. A large stockpile should be right here to use at a moment’s notice.

A catastrophic oil fire? We’re not ready to deal with it. People would likely die, property and waterways be destroyed. BNSF needs to make sure needed materials are stored right here in Bonner County.

The new bridge might temporarily shorten wait times at RR crossings. Long term, have the cars go over or under the railway is the solution. That’s expensive and the moment to secure BNSF funding for that is now.

These are all negotiations the county should have underway with BNSF. Instead, inexperienced managers are just saying, “Sure, build a bridge.” Improvements come from serious negotiations. That’s why I am running for Bonner County commissioner.

STEVE LOCKWOOD

Sandpoint

Posted in Letters from Steve.