Kankakee, IL… On May 1, 2017, Great Lakes Basin Transportation, Inc. (GLBT) filed a formal application with the Federal Surface Transportation Board (STB) to construct and operate a rail line running through Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin. This application calls for a 260 mile privately owned and operated railway, tollway, and airport. In response to the application, State Representative Lindsay Parkhurst (R-Kankakee) is voicing her opposition to the proposed plan.
“The use of eminent domain in our state and our nation is to provide land for public use in appropriate instances. It is not for private gain and the GLBT project plans just that- taking private productive land for private individual gain,” Rep Parkhurst said. “This proposed plan is economically not feasible, not sound, and not sensible. It improperly damages the rights of property owners who rightfully own the land in its path, endangers the Kankakee River and local wildlife and habitats, and tears apart the communities who depend on that land.”
If the plan were imposed in its current form, Grundy County and Kankakee County would lose an estimated $70 million and $90 million per year respectively in agricultural revenue. This revenue can never be replaced. The GLBT railway is facing bipartisan opposition from elected officials across three states as well as by legitimate railroads.
The railway must receive SBT approval before going forward to the next step and GLBT must show their plan is not inconsistent with public convenience and necessity. The public may also file comments regarding the proposal by going to www.sbt.gov. The public comment period will end on June 5th. A coalition of groups opposed to the application filed a request with the STB for an extension of time for the comment period.
Rep. Parkhurst encourages the public to use appropriate avenues to make their opposition known. In addition, she plans to draft legislation to reform eminent domain in Illinois to secure the rights of local landowners. She strongly supports the rights of private landowners.
You can read Rep. Parkhurst’s letter to the STB here.