To examine the economic feasibility of burying 2.08 miles of electrical transmission lines along the Norfolk and Southern Railroad, City Council has approved spending $140,750.
The money would come from the general fund and serve as Aurora’s 50% share of the engineering costs aimed at studying the potential project, which would extend from Route 82 to Treat Road along the rail easement. The total cost of the engineering is $281,500, with FirstEnergy paying 50%.
Council members John Kudley and Amy McDougald Eckard voted against appropriating the money. Noting that burying the lines is estimated to cost between $5 million and $15 million, Kudley said he opposes spending the money for engineering a project that may never become a reality.
Mayor Ann Womer Benjamin said the city is still battling FirstEnergy over locating transmission lines along the rail corridor.
"We don’t know how our fight with FirstEnergy will end, but we’re fighting to get the best deal for the community," she said. "To decide whether burying the lines is feasible, we must know what the cost would be, and that’s the purpose of the engineering. If burying the lines does go forward, the city could recoup its share of the cost for engineering."