Western Wisconsin residents will have a chance to share concerns with state Railroad Commissioner Yash Wadhwa on Thursday. Wadhwa will hold listening sessions in De Soto and Stoddard. The La Crosse Tribune reports that it’s part of an effort to address conflicts between railroads and Mississippi River communities.
Enforcement of a 2006 law that restricts pedestrians to designated crossings has cut off access to thousands of acres of public lands along the river, frustrating hunters and anglers. North Dakota crude oil rides along the river corridor, prompting safety concerns after derailments last year. Residents also complain about trains idling for hours.
State Senator Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse), who represents the area in Madison, said increases in freight rail traffic has led to new concerns about public access and community safety.