Wisconsin Lawmaker Submits Opposition Letter Over Great Lakes Basin Railroad Plan

Dec 20, 2016

A Wisconsin lawmaker has written to the federal government expressing opposition to the Great Lakes Basin Railroad.

Credit Great Lakes Basin Transportation / greatlakesbasin.net

The idea behind the $8 billion plan is to bypass freight congestion in the Chicago-area. The path would run from northwest Indiana, across northern Illinois, and into southern Wisconsin. Supporters say it will give an economic boost to the region, but some landowners near the proposed route aren’t sold.

Last month, Wisconsin state Representative Mark Spreitzer held a listening session where he vowed to write to the Surface Transportation Board.

“Whether this is ever built or not, there are potentially years where people are being affected by it,” Spreitzer said.

He sent that letter this week. In it, he says he strongly opposes the proposed railroad both as a concept as well as the particular route. He also asks for more opportunities for public input.

Last week, the Surface Transportation Board agreed to a request by Great Lakes Basin Transportation to pause the environmental review process. The company wanted the time to get a more complete overview of the project’s business and operating impacts. In this week’s letter, Representative Spreitzer questions how long the delay will be.

The founder of Great Lakes Basin Transportation has said the railroad would provide economic benefits across the region, and says landowners will be fairly compensated.

  • WNIJ's Susan Stephens contributed to this report.

Review the background of and controversy over the Great Lakes Basin Railroad through a WNIJ News series of reports.