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BG board takes issue with senators
Letter to the Editor
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Published: 5/31/2008 4:12 PM

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To the editor: How disappointing that both Sens. Dick Durbin and Barack Obama have come out strongly against CN's proposed acquisition of the EJ&E railway.

In doing so, they have betrayed the interests of a substantial number of their constituents, including residents of our community.

The huge investment of private money to purchase the EJ&E would certainly benefit CN. However, it also will ease both rail and highway congestion by adding new capacity to carry freight to and through the Chicago region, bypassing congested routes through the city's core.

This transaction would not increase freight traffic through the Chicago area, as detractors would lead people to believe. It would move existing trains to the underutilized EJ&E, which arcs around the suburbs.

CN already runs the same 20 freight trains each day through the Chicago area, but they creep through city neighborhoods and towns like Buffalo Grove, Wheeling, Des Plaines, Franklin Park, Schiller Park and River Grove.

CN's proposed shift to the EJ&E would result in fewer trains a day for 80 communities, compared with 34 that would see an increase. Thousands of people in towns that abut the existing CN lines stand to benefit substantially from reductions in rail and highway congestion.

It also would set the stage for overdue enhancements to Metra service that would take cars off area roads, improvements which are stalled due to conflicts with freight traffic on existing CN rail lines.

So why are our senators giving more consideration to those along the EJ&E than to those of us who stand to benefit? Are the communities along CN lines not entitled to the same considerations? Are villages along the EJ&E more important than ours?

Our federal legislators are supposed to view the "big picture," focusing on the greater good. Yet, in this matter, Sens. Obama and Durbin have chosen to ignore the big picture benefits to regional transportation efficiency, the economy and even the environment.

They have also ignored the interests of a great many constituents. It is time they are reminded that their job is to represent the interests of all the people of Illinois, not just the noisiest complainers.

Buffalo Grove Village Board: Village President Elliott Hartstein and Trustees Jeffrey Braiman, DeAnn Glover, Jeffrey Berman, Bruce Kahn, Steven Trilling and Brian Rubin