A proposed 278-mile rail line, affecting the Manteno area, is raising a lot of questions and concerns. The Great Lakes Basin Railroad line would take in in some 41 miles in Kankakee County. Its concept is to alleviate rail congestion in Cook County.
A public hearing on the proposal about 300 people to the Manteno Sportsmen's Club Monday evening. The federal Surface Transportation Board conducted the meeting.
The proposed terminal line would circle around the south suburbs and include the Wilmington area of Will County and northwest Indiana near LaPorte.
Information provided shows the Great Lakes Basin Railroad is an $8-billion project that's privately funded.
The Kankakee County Farm Bureau is opposing the project, right now. Director Chad Miller said the railroad would erase 998 acres of farmland.
The project plan shows a rail switching and maintenance yard, east of Manteno, would consume another 15,036 acres, or 23 square miles. Miller said that would equate to just less than 5 percent of the county's 342,000 acres of farmland. It would amount to about half of Sumner Township.