Great Lakes Basin, Inc. Public Meeting Set for Boone County
Public Attendance is Encouraged
Residents in Boone County are gravely concerned about a Great Lakes Basin, Inc. railroad project. Public scoping hearings were scheduled by the Surface Transportation Board (STB); however, upon review of the meeting locations there was nothing scheduled in Boone County.
It is common sense to host a public scoping meeting for residents in Boone County rather than making them travel far distances. At my request, the Surface Transportation Board agreed to host a meeting in Belvidere. Open Communication and transparency are vitally important. I encourage concerned citizens and agencies to take advantage of this opportunity and provide constructive comments on the Great Lakes Basin, Inc. proposal.
The public meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, April 19, 2016 from 10:00 am to 12:30 pm at the Community Building Complex of Boone County, 111 W. 1st Street, Belvidere, IL 61008. This meeting is open to the public. The purpose of the meeting is for residents, local agencies, environmental groups and potentially affected parties to submit comments for the Surface Transportation Board to consider for the Environmental Impact Statement.
As always, if you have any questions or comments about the topics discussed in this newsletter, or any other part of state government, please do not hesitate to contact my office at (815) 547-3436 or email me at email@example.com.
UPDATE: Surface Transportation Board Adds Public Hearing in Belvidere
By: Mike Buda
Posted: Wed 11:41 AM, Mar 23, 2016
BOONE COUNTY (WIFR) -- After hearing complaints from Boone County residents, the Surface Transportation board is adding a public hearing in Belvidere concerning the Great Lakes Basin Railroad.
According to 69th District State Representative Joe Sosnowski, there will be a meeting on April 19th from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Community Building at 111 West 1st Street.
No other meetings have been cancelled or added.
BOONE COUNTY (WIFR) -- Many Boone County land owners have expressed their disapproval of the proposed eight billion dollar railroad and now they will be able to get their questions answered.
Eight dates have been scheduled for public hearings to discuss the Great Lakes Basin Railroad and three will be in the Stateline.
On April 18th, the Surface Transportation Board's Office of Environmental Analysis will make a presentation and answer questions at Craig High School in Janesville.
On April 19th, they will be at Cherry Valley Fire Station #2 in Rockford and on April 20th they will be at Rochelle High School.
Founder Frank Patton says he will not be present at any of the meetings.
UPDATE: BOONE COUNTY (WIFR) – The group looking to build an $8 billion railroad through Boone County officially submits it spaperwork with the federal government.
The Great Lakes Basin railroad filed its paperwork with the surface transportation board for its route that would bypass Chicago running from La Porte Indiana to Milton, Wisconsin. The tracks were originally going to run through Winnebago County, however environmental issues in Brodhead, Wisonsin caused the move east to Boone County where many farmers have voiced their opposition to the project.
The STB will soon be announcing public hearings which will take place in towns along the entire route. Once those dates and times are announced, we will be sure to update you.
BOONE COUNTY (WIFR) -- Some Boone County farmers and homeowners are worried about a proposed $8B railroad and now organizers are responding to the negative perception.
There's not as much anger as there are questions for the train bypass of Chicago. The Boone County community has raised concerns both Wednesday and Thursday night at public events, and organizer of the Great Lakes Basin Railroad Frank Patton says he understands peoples' worries.
"I can certainly understand concerns, but it's based off of no knowledge and all I ask is that they attend the meetings, they voice their opinion and they understand what the process is," Patton said.. "Hopefully, a lot of the stuff will be resolved in a very short period of time."
Patton says it's not a surprise that people are responding negatively.
Many are worried about the tracks possibly running through their property and even their homes, and few of them have expressed their opinion asking how it can be stopped.
There is a tentative route, but Patton says that can change during the next two years of the environmental study by the federal government.
One thing Patton says is that he will not get into an argument about eminent domain.
"If people think it's an unfair law, then they should repeal it," said Patton. "Without eminent domain, there would be no roads, there would be no highways, there would be no forest preserves, there would be no federally protected natural habitats. That's just the fiber of our government."
Patton says the railroad would help create 250,000 jobs throughout the Midwest and that figure should get everyone on board.
"Projects like ours don't come along very often and if you look at what's going on with the state of Illinois and the communities within the state," Patton said. "Budgetary concerns, laying off police and firemen, laying off teachers. Our feeling is if we do put it together it's going to have a huge, positive impact."
Patton says out of the 11 counties in Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana that the train would potentially be going through, he's only heard negative responses from people in Winnebago and Boone.
Patton says the Surface Transportation Board should be announcing that dates for the public hearings in the coming weeks.