Information regarding Great Lakes Basin Railroad
Please check this page frequently for updates. The proposed route can be found by visiting here.
Satelite View of Route
Farm Bureau Comments Submitted to STB
Comments made by Grundy County Farm Bureau at the Surface Transportation Board hearing, April 21, 2016.
Good evening. I am Sara Mitchell, Secretary of the Grundy County Farm Bureau, which represents nearly 3800 families in Grundy county. Thank you for the opportunity to speak tonight on the impact this project will have to our members, landowners, and residents.
The proposed rail line extends through Grundy County for nearly 31 miles, at 200 feet wide, taking 751 acres of farmland out of production- this does not include the number of parcels affected by flyovers, additional crossings, and rail spurs.
We have studied the proposed route; 104 parcels will be severed by this project. Nearly 100% of the ground land in these parcels is designated by the USDA as USDA prime farmland. 104 parcels will be severed by this project.; Ffrom the parcels severed, the route also creates uneconomical remnants from as many as 33 farms will be created, which will likely cause effect even more acreage prime farmland that willto be taken out of production. These small parcels of prime farmland would most likely eventually be lost to other types of development.
The GLBR will land lock 74 farms in Grundy County. According to their website, the developers plan to put inprovide private crossings for farmers to utilize—will they be large enough for combines, tractors, sprayers, and other equipment to safely travel overuse? How will the project developers work with farmers to address the issue of tracks and crossings through their field, as well as their maintenance? If poorly designed or improperly maintained, these private crossings could create significant safety issues for the people that use them.
We are also concerned with the proposal, as it is today, and its impact on various cultural or historic resources in our region. Specifically, we are concerned about the impact that the project will have on the Shabbona Reservation along the Illinois River. The Shabbona Reservation is an archeological sites of historical importance, specifically at the Shabbona Reservation along the Illinois River, and we believe that the impact of the project on this site should be studied.
This project will alter the existing transportation infrastructure, creating conditions of adverse travel which will impact rural safety and ultimately effect the service provided by first responders and their ability to respond to emergencies. The project narrative lists indicates that West Indian Trail and Long Point roads would will be “stubbed” or closed in Grundy County. Many other township roads will be impacted by the proposed project, as well as other county and state highways. These road closures will alter the existing transportation infrastructure, creating adverse traffic conditions which will impact rural safety and which will affect the level of service provided by first responders. It will negatively impact their ability to timely respond to emergencies.
The GLBR will adversely impact the socioeconomic status of our area our rural businesses by limiting and hindering rural development in our local communities. Small businesses, which are the backbone of rural communities, will be restricted not only in their ability to grow and expand, but also in conducting their current business operations.
As an organization working to protect landowners’ rights, we also adamantly oppose granting authority to exercise eminent domain for this project, should that request arise.
The proposed GLB railroad is a high priority for the Grundy County Farm Bureau and we will continue to work with others to protect the rights of our members, landowners, and rural residents. We recognize that rail congestion through Chicago is a difficult dilemma, but we don’t believe that this project represents a solution to that problem. The Amtrak Chicago Gateway Blue Ribbon Panel issued recommendations to alleviate Chicago rail congestion. Those recommendations did not include a new rail line. We therefore question the need for the project, particularly in light of the safety, land use, and other issues that I previously identified. We request the Surface Transportation Board will perform a full review on the proposed Great Lakes Basin Rail project and that it deny any request by Great Lakes Basin for an exemption of a full reviewto the review process.