Wednesday, March 8, 2017

May 1st. final deadline for Great Lake Basis?


eds give Great Lakes Basin a May 1 deadline for rail plan

The federal government has given Great Lakes Basin Transportation a May 1 deadline to finish its application to build and operate an Indiana-to-Wisconsin freight rail bypass around Chicago.

The Surface Transportation Board's Office of Environmental Analysis set the deadline in a letter dated Friday to GLBT Chairman Frank Patton.

"If you are unable to file, OEA will cease all work on the environmental review of GLBT's proposal, including taking down the project website," OEA Director Victoria Rutson wrote.

Her letter was in response to a Feb. 28 request from GLBT to continue a suspension of the OEA-led environmental study for the proposed railroad. That suspension began last December, when Patton asked that his company be allowed to focus on the rail line application — which will include an overview of the project and detailed financial and operational data — before continuing with the environmental review.

The OEA told GLBT in December to provide the Feb. 28 status report. In that letter, Patton asked for suspension of the environmental review to continue until April 30, "at which time we will either file the application or provide another status report."

Rutson's response acknowledged that "GLBT's ongoing discussions with potential customers, shippers, and other parties are necessary to glean information needed for both the application and OEA's environmental review of this complex proposal."

"However," she wrote, "the Board is mindful of the need to move forward expeditiously with the environmental review process, as well as the project's potential impact on affected communities."

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