transportation

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.

Guy Stephens / WNIJ

 

The argument for the Great Lakes Basin Railroad is that it will be an economic driver for the region.  But while some are enthusiastic about its potential, some are skeptical – including the railroads that are supposed to be its major clients.    

Great Lakes Basin Railroad lawyer Mike Blaszak says the line will be a boon for the railroads using it -- and for their customers. He cites the example of fracking sand that is mined in Wisconsin.  

"Construction For-ev-or" by Flickr User Kyle May / (CC X 2.0)

Illinois voters have approved a constitutional amendment aimed at making sure transportation-related funds aren't used for other purposes.

The measure was the only lawmaker-generated ballot measure this year and had bipartisan support.

The so-called ``lockbox amendment'' will keep funds generated through tolls, taxes and other related transportation sources from being spent elsewhere.

"Construction For-ev-or" by Flickr User Kyle May / (CC X 2.0)

An Illinois group that wants to prevent transportation funds from being diverted elsewhere has spent about $2.5 million for television advertising.

Figures released Thursday by the Center for Public Integrity show that Citizens to Protect Transportation Funding spent the money to air their ads nearly 1,300 times this election cycle.

Since 2003, an estimated $6.8 billion in transportation funds generated by tolls, license fees and the gas tax have been used by state government for other things. That's according to the Transportation for Illinois Coalition.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

The man behind an $8-billion plan to route train traffic around Chicago met with the public in a forum in Grundy County Monday night. Great Lakes Basin Railroad co-founder Frank Patton was in the hot seat. A very hot seat.

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