Winnebago County Residents Fight Against Proposed Rail Project
By Emily Waldron | firstname.lastname@example.org
Published 10/03 2016 10:40PM
Updated 10/03 2016 10:40PM
Angry Winnebago County residents gather, pledging to fight a major railroad line near their homes.
A line stretched out the door of the Rockton Township office as dozens of Winnebago County residents try to cram inside to voice their opposition to the Great Lakes Basin Transportation's new railroad line.
"[GLB} just wants to build a route and charge people to use it," said Kerry Geiger who's against the project.
The proposed route for the rail line will cross through farmers' fields and wetland. Geiger lives a half mile from where the line will cross the Pecatonica River. He says he's worried about the environment since it'll cut through Indian mounds and wetlands there.
"Now, if there's an accident, who's going to clean it up," questions Geiger. "You can't get heavy equipment in there, it's too low."
Susan Sack is the co-founder of "Block GLB". The group represents residents from all of the affected counties, including those in Indiana and Wisconsin. She says she wants more forums like the ones held in Boone County.
"We need to get the Service Transportation Board to open up the comment period again so that impacted people know," said Sack. "Impacted people aren't just the people on the primary route where the line goes. They can go five miles either side of that."
There's a benefit for some residents who live along the proposed route. Winnebago County Board Member Jim Webster says Great Lakes Basin will provide substantial buyout offers. He says some people are facing circumstances where they would welcome that option.
"Going through a divorce, or have health reasons... [people] take that into consideration," said Webster. "One of the calls I got, that's exactly what the situation was."
The Facebook group, Winnebago County Against GLB Railroad, says it'll protest the project October 13th at 11am in the 8500 block of Cunningham Road. There'll also be another meeting on the 18th in the Winnebago High School gym.