City files as "Friend of the Court" in Boonville Bridge case

The Boonville Daily News reports that the City of Boonville has received permission to file in the current case involving the MKT railroad bridge at Boonville as a "friend of the court":
Paula Shannon, chair of the Katy Bridge Coalition, said, “ This is another important step in the process of securing the Katy Bridge for Katy Trail use and for the citizens of Missouri.” She added, “The city of Boonville really stepped up to the plate once again and supported our two year effort to save this bridge.”

The matter is scheduled to be heard April 17, as the next step in determining whether or not the Department of Natural Resources has the authority to allow Union Pacific to remove the bridge, which has been rail banked by the federal interim trail use agreement of 1987.
The Boonville MKT bridge is part of the original Katy Railroad line. It has not been used as part of the Katy Trail, which crosses the Missouri River on the nearby highway bridge. However keeping the bridge in place is vital to preserving the legal status of the Katy Trail as a railbanked railroad line.

The state of Missouri wishes to give away the MKT bridge to Union Pacific Railroad, which will move it to a different location. Missouri state Attorney General Jay Nixon has filed suit to stop the transfer of the bridge. Original Katy Trail donor Pat Jones has filed as friend of the court in the case because she believes removing the bridge will endanger the legal status of the entire trail and also remove any possibilty of the rail line ever being re-activated. The Missouri Bicycle Federation has filed as friend of the court, representing the interests of trail users and Missouri citizens.

Great Rivers Environmental Law Center has filed a separate lawsuit on behalf of several trail users, maintaining that giving away the bridge endangers the legal status of large section of the trail.

A group centered in Boonville wants to rehabilitate the bridge, use it as part of the Katy Trail, and make it a tourist attraction.

Altogether a complex situation!