Boone County

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One of the main arguments Great Lakes Basin Transportation Inc. has made in favor of its rail project is that it would act as an economic driver for the region.  Company lawyer Mike Blaszak says construction would create a significant number of jobs.

"Those of course, would be temporary," he said, "but the construction period would last at least two years."

Once the railroad is in operation, he envisions a smaller set of permanent positions operating trains, maintaining track, and other daily functions. 

The Winnebago County Board unanimously approved a resolution Thursday opposing the construction of the Great Lakes Basin Railroad.

The 261-mile railroad would pass through six Illinois counties and into Rock County, Wisconsin, to bypass congested Chicago freight lines. .  However, opposition groups have formed in many of the affected counties, including a group which claims more than 14,000 members in Winnebago County. 

Great Lakes Basin Transportation Inc.

Hundreds of Winnebago Township residents protested the latest proposal for the Great Lakes Basin Railroad.

The 260-mile route would pass through several parts of Winnebago County in order to bypass Chicago freight traffic.  However, the Rockford Register-Star reports residents are concerned the route could pass through their farmland or have a negative effect on wildlife. 

Great Lakes Basin Transportation Inc.

Great Lakes Basin Transportation Inc. unveiled a proposal for an alternative rail route that wouldn't run through Boone County.  

The company originally proposed a 281-mile railway that would bypass Chicago's congested freight lines.  However, this plan faced opposition from Boone County residents.  A letter opposing the project cited loss of livability, land, and water quality, as well as an increase in noise and insurance costs. 

  Boone County’s Health and Human Services Committee tabled a resolution to change the food service code.  

Under the current code, nonprofit organizations don’t have to pay fees for food service permits.  The Register-Star reports the change would have removed this exemption, and given the health department about $22,000 per year. 

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