The Great Lakes Basin Railroad will cut across three states from LaPorte, Indiana into Milton, Wisconsin. Frank Patton has not ruled out quick take eminent domain, which means the project could take people’s land if they refuse to sell, if the Surface Transportation Safety Board approves his project.
These days a billionaire serving the public good by saving time for trains coming through Chicago and creating jobs seems more powerful than ordinary people.
But that’s not necessarily true. My parents stopped Mayor Corning of Albany, New York, from taking their land to make a park. They stood up to Consolidated Gas, with the company ordered to pay their legal expenses. Our Belvidere neighborhood fought city hall and won.
Recently, at the Boone County scoping meeting, people spoke about how twenty-one thousand acres of rare, fertile farmland would be lost. Fields could turn into swamps due to the tracks blocking drainage. They protested that, if there’s a derailment, toxic chemicals could ruin the water supply for the entire region. Officials from rescue squads warned how response times for emergency vehicles could become deadly due to long trains or roads being closed.
People stood up for their legacy, their livelihoods, the ground itself — American protest at its best.
If you’d like to comment before the June 15 deadline, check out the Block GLB Railroad and the Surface Transportation Safety Board websites.
I’m Katie Andraski and that’s my perspective.
Here is more information Great Lakes Basin Rail Line including maps of the proposed route.
If you’d like to hear me read this on WNIJ’s website click here.