Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of HR0068
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Full Text of HR0068  96th General Assembly



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2     WHEREAS, On December 24, 2008, the purchase of the Elgin,
3 Joliet and Eastern (EJ&E) rail line by Canadian National (CN)
4 was approved by the Surface Transportation Board (STB); the
5 EJ&E is a stretch of train tracks from Waukegan to Gary,
6 Indiana; and
7     WHEREAS, While many communities in the metro area of
8 Chicago benefited by the shift in train traffic created by the
9 merger, many other communities experienced a negative increase
10 in train traffic; this increase is expected to have an impact
11 on the day-to-day lives of working families along sections of
12 the EJ&E, such as traffic congestion and grade crossing safety
13 concerns, emergency vehicle access, interruption of commuter
14 rail service, hazardous materials transportation safety, noise
15 pollution, decreased property values, and increased taxes to
16 pay for mitigation expenses associated with infrastructure
17 impact from the purchase of the EJ&E rail line; and
18     WHEREAS, The RTA has expressed concern about possible
19 negative effects that the proposed EJ&E merger could have on
20 construction of the proposed STAR Line, a mass-transit line
21 which had hoped to use part of the EJ&E's right-of-way; and
22     WHEREAS, Railroad transport is one of the fastest growing



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1 means of fuel-efficient freight transport in the nation and is
2 expected to continue to grow; and
3     WHEREAS, Significant growth is expected in rail freight
4 traffic in the near and distant future creating environmental
5 and safety concerns for those communities surrounding freight
6 rail lines; therefore, be it
9 encourage and support action by the 111th Congress of the
10 United States to enact legislation to review the Surface
11 Transportation Board to ensure adequate federal support to
12 compensate impacted local communities for infrastructure
13 upgrades due to shifts in track usage; and be it further
14     RESOLVED, That we believe that the federal government
15 should help fund infrastructure upgrades for communities
16 impacted by mergers, such as the CN and EJ&E merger, that cause
17 significant fluctuation in rail traffic for the health and
18 safety of both the employees of the rail carrier and the local
19 communities such as improvements to State, municipal, and
20 county streets, grade crossings, and commuter rail; and be it
21 further
22     RESOLVED, That we encourage Congress and President Barack



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1 Obama to support H.R. 693, the Reaching the Star Act, creating
2 a Suburban Transit Access Route or STAR line inter-suburban
3 commuter rail to ease road traffic congestion in 100
4 communities from Joliet to O'Hare International Airport,
5 providing safe and reliable transportation options for the more
6 than 1.6 million area residents living in high-congestion
7 areas; and be it further
8     RESOLVED, That a suitable copy of this resolution be sent
9 to President Barack Obama, the Speaker and Minority Leader of
10 the United States House of Representatives, the President Pro
11 Tempore and the Minority Leader of the United States Senate,
12 and to each member of the Illinois congressional delegation.