The residents of Rock County had a win last night. The Rock County board of Supervisors meets twice a month or more if necessary to discuss issues affecting our county. The agenda of last night’s meeting included a vote as to whether our county would support the Great Lakes Basin Railway project. The public had the opportunity to speak for or against the railway. Several took the invitation and did just that. They spoke about how the proposed rail system would impact their ability to continue to farm sections of their land once it has been cut into pieces. Another speaker came forward to discuss the issue with the rail coming so close to her community and the effect the trains would have on the communities church as well as the water drainage around the town.
After the public had their chance to voice personal concerns. The board discussed the resolution and made a small change to the verbiage and held a roll call vote. The vote was taken, tallied and was unanimously against the proposed project with two board members being absent. I don’t know of anyone in the room that didn’t want to stand and cheer at that moment but composure was maintained. The meeting continued and after the remaining topics were discussed and voted upon the meeting was dismissed.
Although Rock County is formally on record as being against the GLB we are not out of the woods yet. From here a copy of this resolution will be sent to the Governor, the Secretary of the Department of Natural Resources, the Department of Agriculture trade and Consumer Protection as well as a number of Senators and Representatives.
The reality is that even with this win the rail line could still happen. This is why it is so important that we as residents of this county get involved. Yes, some of us live in the towns and cities of Rock County but we are still largely a rural community of towns and cities. Consider the permanent damage to the landscape of our county. How many of us want to take a drive in the country on a beautiful day and encounter a mile long train instead of fields growing grain crops and pastures of animals grazing?
570 acres of farmland could forever be lost. Southern Wisconsin has some of the richest land in the world. Once it’s gone there is nothing anyone can do to fix it. In addition to the farm land there is woodland and wetlands in the way of the this project that will also be permanently changed or lost forever. There are so many negatives involved with this project.
Consider the families that farm. Some of these families have been farming their land for generations. Financially each of those farms will have decreased income that will radiate out into the community. Lost farmland and pasture land means less food will be produced. With less food being produced the business that support farming will suffer financially.
It’s not just the farms at risk. Our way of life as a community is at risk. Lost revenue in any business always trickles out to the surrounding area. With thousands of dollars being lost each year by our families and friends that farm means that the businesses that support farming and the businesses they visit to purchase things for their families will have those sales. Resulting in a potential loss jobs all over the county.
We must also consider the financial burden the state will have to renovate 40 miles of track in order to accommodate the GLB project. That cost is estimated to be $900,000. Per/mile. (Yes I said per mile!!) So we are talking about an estimated $36,000,000 to accept the train into our county. Guess where that money is coming from? Some may be federally funded of course but some of this cost may be our tax money. We could be paying for the privilege of having our county ripped apart and forever damaged.
I am getting emotional here but this is an emotional subject. We live in Rock County because we love it here. This is a great place to live. I am all for progress, but the cost must be considered and the cost to our way of life is too high. We all need to get involved if we are going to protect what we have. Write to the Governor, The Department of Natural Resources, the Department of Agriculture, our Senators and Representatives. Write to the STB. The person you want to contact is Dave Navecky. The address is:
Docket Number FD 35952
395 E Street SW
Washington D.C. 20423-0001
Let them know that we do not want the devastation this project will bring to our county and our way of life. It is so important to get involved. This could be a precedent setting project that may have the potential to affect any state in this country. You can get more information at the Rock Against The Rail Facebook page. Let’s stop the GLB.
Rock Against The Rail!!!