September 1, 2017

STB rejects Great Lakes Basin's rail bid

Agency says company failed to prove financial fitness.

By DC Velocity Staff

The Surface Transportation Board (STB) yesterday rejected Great Lakes Basin Transportation Inc.'s (GLBT) application to build and operate a 261-mile rail line around Chicago through parts of Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana, saying the company failed to provide sufficient financial information to show it had the means to undertake the project.

The company's resources are "so clearly deficient for purposes of constructing a 261-mile rail line that the board will not proceed with this application given the impacts on stakeholders and the demands upon board resources," STB said in its decision. Great Lakes can refile a new application to meet the board's standards. GLBT had no comment posted on its web site at press time.

The privately funded line would skirt Chicago to the south, passing through counties in Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin. According to GLBT, the line would permit a train to travel between any two of 26 proposed interchange points in eight hours or less. It can take as long as 30 hours for trains to navigate around and through Chicago's existing rail network to deliver goods not destined for the city or its environs. GLBT said the line would allow up to 110 trains per day to avoid the Chicago terminal.

In response to concerns that the line would encroach on residential neighborhoods, GLBT said it would build a one- to two-mile buffer zone separating it from towns along the proposed route.

GLBT Founder Frank Patton said in June that the line would be the largest freight rail project in the Chicagoland region in more than a century.

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