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Rail News Home Federal Legislation & Regulation


Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

Great Lakes Basin files plans to build new railroad, proposes new highway


Great Lakes Basin Transportation Inc. on Monday filed its application with the Surface Transportation Board (STB) to build and operate a freight railroad that would operate in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin.

The proposal to build a 275-rail line is designed to provide needed rail capacity around the Chicago to meet existing and future demand for rail service, GLBT officials believe.

"The [Great Lakes Basin Railroad] is the largest single freight railroad project proposed for the Chicago region in over a century," said Frank Patton, GLBT founder and chairman, in a press release. "We look forward to working with the STB and other interested parties to move this project forward."

In addition to filing its STB application, GLBT announced this week its proposed "Build Program" to provide new rail, road and air transport capacity for the Midwest.

"The demand for freight and passenger transportation has outgrown the infrastructure in place," Patton said. "The privately financed Build Program will provide a new transportation belt to meet the growing and rapidly changing transportation demands of the 21st century."

In addition to the construction and operation of Great Lakes Basin Railroad, GLBT's program calls for construction of the Burnham Expressway, a privately funded toll road that would connect the Indiana Toll Road with Interstates 80/94, 65, 57, 55 and 80.

The highway would be designed to expedite regional and through road traffic around Chicago. It also would be designed to accommodate autonomous vehicles, GLBT officials said.

Additionally, the program calls for GLBT to participate in the next round of development opportunities for the South Suburban Airport, which are managed by the Illinois Department of Transportation.

"In addition to providing new airport capacity, GLBT will work with all parties in the region to provide efficient access to the airport to allow passengers the ability to transfer directly to and from the terminal," company officials said.

Patton described the Build Program as an "historic step" in meeting the region's future transportation needs.

"It is critical to begin this work now, pursuing all required legal and environmental reviews and approvals, so that these new rail, road and air facilities will be in place when they are needed," he said.