Transportation Board of the United States (STB) on Thursday issued its
decision to reject the Great Lakes Basin Transportation’s application to
build a 261-mile railroad that would see up to 110 trains per day and cross
through areas of southern Porter County.
The ruling, which
appeared on the STB’s website, said that the GLBT “failed to provide the (STB)
with accurate financial information upon which the Board can rely to make a
determination on the transportation merits of the project.”
Also, federal law
says that the STB may not grant authorization of construction if it is
“inconsistent with the public convenience and necessity,” the ruling said.
information provided in GLBT’s application “is fundamentally flawed,” the
STB said, and that its reported assets of $151 are “so clearly deficient for
the purposes of constructing a 261-mile rail line.”
The STB said it was
unclear to them in the provided balance sheet reporting a negative net
income of $1.2 million of what the difference between the GLBT’s assets,
liabilities and stockholder equity. It called the application incomplete.
“The Board will not
proceed with this application given the impacts on stakeholders and the
demands upon Board resources,” the ruling said.
The STB also stated
it is discontinuing the environmental impact study that would have needed to
be completed before construction.
sparked outrage from many property owners in March 2016 when details emerged
about it following notices of public scoping meetings set by the STB.
Opposition groups were formed in Porter and Lake counties such as the
Residents Against Invasion of Land by Eminent Domain (RAILED) and the Porter
County Commissioners passed a resolution expressing disapproval of the
“The proposed rail
line would also create noise, vibration and considerable safety concerns at
all of the crossings,” said the resolution. The Commissioners said they
“foresee no positive economic impact” for the county and many roads would
have to be closed, making travel difficult for residents and farmers.
Starting from the
west, the proposed line in Porter County would have entered just north of
Hebron and then moved through Boone, Porter, Morgan and Washington
townships, and crossed near the southern edge of Jackson Twp. as it went
east into LaPorte County.
The endpoints for
the complete rail line would have been Milton, Wis., and Kingsbury, Ind.
For its part, GLBT
had stated on its website that the project would move freight outside of
Chicago and permit trains to bypass the congested terminal areas. It would
add capacity to accommodate anticipated future growth, it said.
The line would have
cost roughly $8 billion, claimed GLBT, and would have been funded by private
This spring, GLBT
announced that it hoped to add a new Toll Road adjacent to the rail line,
creating a 2,000-foot wide transportation corridor. That proposal was also
decried by the Commissioners.
Laura Shurr Blaney, D-South, whose property was one of those in the path of
the railway, told the Chesterton Tribune after Thursday’s ruling that
she commends the STB for acting on the concerns of the public.
“The STB did an
excellent job working through this difficult issue. I think the people of
Northwest Indiana had excellent representation across the board. Their
voices, along with thousands of others across three states, were heard,”