GLBR Down The Line

Great Lakes Basin Transportation, Inc.

State representatives in northern Illinois recently backed a resolution opposing the Great Lakes Basin Railroad. That’s after plans for the proposed railroad were submitted to the Surface Transportation Board earlier this month.

The proposed project includes constructing and operating a private rail line between Milton, Wis., and northwestern Indiana to bypass Chicago congestion. It would pass through several northern Illinois counties. 

Great Lakes Basin Transportation / greatlakesbasin.net

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

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.

Great Lakes Basin Transportation / greatlakesbasin.net

What’s the Great Lakes Basin Railroad and why should I care?

The GLBR is a proposed railway that, if you live in northern Illinois, southern Wisconsin, or northwest Indiana, you’ve either never heard of or have spent a lot of time learning about over the last year.

Under the current route proposal, the Great Lakes Basin Railroad would enter Kankakee County, Illinois, just below the Will County line, traveling west-southwest to enter Grundy County a couple of miles above its southern boundary.

Susan Stephens

AMC's Hell on Wheels is a fictionalized version of the construction of the First Transcontinental Railroad across the Wild West in the 1860s.

The show draws much of its drama from a greedy tycoon who encourages workers to weave and wind tracks every which way to maximize profit—with little regard for the land.

Upon seeing a blueprint, self-proclaimed "villain" Thomas Durant laments, "Why have you made my road so straight?"

That is not so easy to get away with these days. 

Railroad Will Need Eminent Domain Powers To Acquire Land

Dec 17, 2016
Susan Stephens/WNIJ

Before a company like Great Lakes Basin can build a railroad, it needs land.  And since much of that land is privately owned, the firm needs a way to buy it. 

How can a company like Great Lakes Basin Transportation convince people to sell their land when it's needed for their project?  

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