Today is

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Hypocrisy Alert: Wisconsin Republican Feels Railroaded By Group's Lack Of Transparency

Rock Against The Rail
Let the STB know you are opposed to the proposed GLBT rail and the reasons why.

Demand that the Motion for Protective Order be denied.

As you probably know, a group Great Lakes Basin Transportation Inc (GLBT) of private investors want to build a new rail line in the Midwest starting in small town Wisconsin and terminating somewhere in Indiana.

Their first map of the plan showed a commercial rail route starting in Milton and running southwest right alongside Milton avenue smack dab into downtown Janesville (give or take a quarter mile) before taking a hard right west out of the city.

Granted, Janesville is no Chicago, but their first map to lay the track inside urban centers like Janesville was described as their way of relieving rail congestion in and around urban centers. If that makes sense.

The rail route for Rock County has changed dramatically twice since and is now running outside of Janesville in the eastern side of the county before taking a turn west between Beloit and Janesville and then heading due south again. By narrowly avoiding the county's two most densely populated areas, the tracks now however zigzag ambiguously across farmland leaving many to suspect a political "picking winners and losers" strategy behind closed doors among unnamed investors.

In their latest draft, the railroad group has proposed even bigger plans, possibly to attract more public support. They still want to construct the rail line of course, but have now added a toll road and a new airport to serve southern Chicago suburbs, but request (Protective Order) to keep investors names and deliberations hidden from public view.

JG Excerpt:
Great Lakes Basin Transportation officially filed its application for the project Monday, meeting the deadline set by the federal Surface Transportation Board. However, it did not include some of the required information in the public application: namely, who its main shareholders are.

That question might not be answered soon. The company submitted a motion along with its application requesting that the names of shareholders be kept private.

And why not? In 2015 ...

PR Watch Excerpt:
Wisconsin GOP has proposed a virtual gutting of Wisconsin's open records law, which has long been considered one of the best in the nation. The unprecedented proposal would give lawmakers broad authority to hide the special interests who are working to influence legislation. It would keep legislative drafting files under wraps, create a new "deliberative materials" exemption that would exempt from disclosure records at all levels of government ...

Those republicans involved in that proposal all won re-election ...and more.

Remember when local Assembly Rep. Amy Loudenbeck defended her vote in committee to gut those open record laws?

JG Excerpt:
Loudenbeck said she receives inquires from constituents about personal topics, and she was concerned about them being subject to “public review and scrutiny.”

But that's not all. When Loudenbeck voted to gut Wisconsin's open record laws she also supported exempting communications and documents that are drafts.

“With respect to the work product and communications leading to the drafting of legislation, I support limiting these materials as well” -- Assembly Rep. Amy Loudenbeck

But now when others do it, Loudenbeck writes:

Wispolitics Loudenbeck Letter to Surface Transportation Board

If the GLBTs plan is so solid and beneficial, why would those behind it want to stay hidden? And if their plan would intrude on the properties and privacy for hundreds of home- and land-owners along the route, why should anyone accept claims of privacy rights for those responsible for the rail plan?” I wholeheartedly concur with their concerns, and I am forced to wonder what surprises may be contained with this information. In this instance, the public’s right to know who is funding a project that could potentially impact their lives, livelihood, and property greatly outweighs the Applicant’s desire to maintain confidentiality.

Yeaaah. Rrrright.

I got to wonder what exactly is Loudenbeck upset about regarding the GLBT plan? Is she digging for donors?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You also need to know that Loudenbeck sponsored a critical bill to enable construction -- eliminating any real protection for ancient Native American mounds and village sites. They could never build this line with laws in place that demanded the discovery of mounts and/or villages from hundreds of years ago undergo archeology excavations.

This delays construction at least a couple of years -- witness the village that delayed the widening of Highway 26 North of Milton several years ago.

Loudenbeck is playing her tRumpian base. And while I once stood up against this rail line, when I discovered how racist and sexist the opposition is and how madly pro-tRump they almost all are, I withdrew from the fight.

The people that vote for Loudenbeck, GOP, and tRump are going to get what they deserve -- an oil train corridor in their backyard mostly paid for by tax payers.

For example, after constructed (and it will be approved) Wisconsin taxpayers will be stuck with MILLIONS OF DOLLARS investing to upgrade the Wisconsin & Southern rail line.

Remember -- this is merely a paper railroad that operates on state-owned tracks under a ridiculously cheap sweetheart lease. New rail yards will need to be built and the right-of-way will need to be upgraded to handle a massive increase in traffic.

Madison will be gridlocked -- this is the railroad's hub. But it will be worse up the line to Milwaukee, Ripon, & Oshkosh/Fox Valley. The railroad is disjointed (former Milwaukee Road) and does not have facilities for the increased traffic of there.

Post a Comment