Friday, July 8, 2016

Don Ellingson’s comments on GLB RR and a printed response




    Posted Jun. 29, 2016 at 3:01 PM

    This is a copy of a letter I sent to the Surface Transportation Board regarding the Great Lakes Basin Railroad Project. To nyone reading this who agrees with this, please send your thoughts to the Surface Transportation Board. Comments may be submitted to Several voices are much more influential than one voice. The deadline for such letters was June 15, but it has been extended to July 15.
    To the Surface Transportation Board:
    I know that you as a federal board has the power to OK or reject the application of the Great Lakes Basin Railroad Project. Neither I, nor anyone else, knows what your decision will be. However if, and I said if, you decide that the railroad project can go forward, I have one imperative suggestion that you should require of the group planning the railroad.
    That suggestion is: All the crossings of roads and railroads must be an overpass. At first mention this may shock you, but if you give it real serious thought, I think you will agree. It sounds extreme, but, yes, I said all of the crossings. Some crossings today may seem insignificant, but who knows about a few years from now. Once a railroad is built, changes are rare. This will cost a lot of money, but it is worth it.
    Crossing accidents between trains and cars, trucks and buses are not real common, but they are still too common and usually result in fatalities. As the number of trains and highway traffic increases, the chances of accidents and fatalities also increases. And everyone knows that traffic will increase as the years go by and the population grows.
    The railroad project is not planned for the past 100 years. It is planned for the next 100 or more years. I said it would be costly, but spread over 100 or more years it is not so costly. If one, five, 10 or more lives are lost, what is the cost?
    If, as in the past when all crossings had waiting times, it would not only be a great inconvenience for thousands of motorists and vehicles on the highways, but for the fire trucks on the way to fight a fire, or an ambulance rushing to help someone in dire need or rushing someone to the hospital.
    Remember, population is ever increasing or you would not be considering new railroads, but so is traffic. No one can predict what the increase will be in the long-term future, but you can be confident it will be a great amount.
    One final thought — overpasses will not only guarantee safety, but also help to prevent noise. Instead of a train whistle at every crossing, which could be almost nonstop, the area would be reasonably and peacefully quiet.

    Please think long and seriously about this — the future safety of many depends on it.

    — Donald Ellingson, Poplar Grove
    • Posted Jul. 6, 2016 at 10:00 AM

      In response to the July 3 “My View,” titled “Overpass for the GLB Railroad”: First and foremost, the information we have seen about the proposed Boone County route shows absolutely no benefit to Boone County.
      As to Mr. Ellingson’s proposal for an overpass at every county road crossing, very diabolical! Great Lakes Basin Transportation Inc. is considering the Boone County route because the Winnebago route would cost $1 billion more due to environmental issues that have to be addressed. An overpass at every road crossing in Boone County would easily add $1 billion to the cost, plus, years of construction delays — not so brilliant! If there is one positive about the GLB issue, it is that the Boone County board finally realizes the value of our prime farmland and the county’s comprehensive plan. Add to this the fact that an overpass at every crossing would probably destroy twice as much farmland. Further, has there been an estimate of the cost of raising the six-lane Interstate 90 to cross over the proposed GLB track? This would not be at the expense of Illinois taxpayers. Right? — Richard Gadke, Capron

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