Chesterton Tribune

Illiana not needed; rebuild the railroad system to move freight with less pollution

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Voice of the People

I read with interest Karen Tallian’s article in the Feb. 21 Chesterton Tribune studying the new toll road proposal. As an attorney for the Porter County Plan Commission, where she is involved with the proposed Unified Development/Ordinance, she should also request more study. Last week I went to the Plan Commission to review the new ordinance, but none was available. What is our county trying to hide? Is the new ordinance designed to chase small farmers off their property?

I would like to give members of the legislature my opinion on the new toll road.

You do not need this additional road. The state needs to rebuild the old railroad system, which served every small town in the state. Move the 18-wheelers with their box cars off the public roads and back on the rails.

With the present threat to our atmosphere, the legislature should be aware that a railroad train of 100 cars pulled by two locomotives will move the same tonnage as 600 semi-trucks. The federal government has tried for years to socialize the country’s transportation with super highways and trucks now find they cannot afford it.

The railroads were always privately owned. They owned their own right-of-way, tracks, equipment and stations. They moved passengers, freight, LCL (less than carload lot) express and mail. (Remember the three-cent postage stamp?) and even had commuter service.

The railroads paid taxes to local government on their holdings. What do our highways or trucks pay locally? Nothing. When the Indiana Toll Road was built, the law provided they would pay no taxes or ditch assessments. This lost revenue was made up by township taxpayers. It removed 40 acres per mile of road from the tax roles. This is still in effect under the new lease plan.

No more roads. Rebuild the railroad systems.

J.F. Schrader


Posted 3/5/2007