Rail regulators accept comment on potential Canadian Pacific-Kansas City Southern merger

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DETROIT (CNNMoney) — U.S. railroad regulators are accepting comments on a last-minute application by Canadian Pacific Railway to buy rival Kansas City Southern for $28 billion.

The U.S. Surface Transportation Board announced the filing Wednesday, as expected.

The proposed merger, which would create a Canadian company with a market value of $59 billion, still has to be approved by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice.

“The U.S. Surface Transportation Board cannot comment on pending matters before it, including the CP-KCS Merger,” said a STB spokesman.

The STB has received public comments on other proposed railway mergers that have been taken on by railroads.

“The STB requested comment on proposals to merge American railroads including CSX Corporation and Norfolk Southern Corporation; Canadian Pacific Railway and Norfolk Southern Corporation; and the USA Railroad and Flagstar National Railroad (Flagstar in 2014 and the USA Railroad in 2017),” the agency said.

Both railroads are based in Canada. Canadian Pacific and Kansas City Southern have run similar freight networks in the past.

In October, Kansas City Southern agreed to sell its Puerto Rico operations to U.S. shipper CSX.

Proponents of the merger say it could help boost competition and better serve U.S. producers of U.S. corn, soybeans and other commodities.

But the National Association of Manufacturers and grain companies say the merger would hurt consumers. They say it would force railroads to raise prices, and make goods like flour more expensive.

“This is an important issue because there is a large potential cost to consumers,” said Sen. Jerry Moran, a Kansas Republican, in a letter to the STB Wednesday. “These costs could result in the loss of millions of dollars in manufacturing sales and loss of thousands of rail jobs.”

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