Public hearings set for railroad proposal

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The 60-day public comment period for the Great Lakes Basin railroad project opened Friday, now that the company has officially filed its letter of intent with the federal government.

The federal Office of Environmental Analysis, which is part of the Surface Transportation Board, has set a series of eight public meetings between April 11 and April 21. Nearby meetings include:

• In Janesville April 18, 5:30 - 8 p.m., in the Craig High School cafeteria, 401 S. Randall St.

• In Rockford April 19, 5:30 - 8 p.m., in the Cherry Valley Fire Station #2 hall, 4919 Blackhawk Road.

The meetings will be in an open house format for the first hour followed by a brief presentation by Office of Environmental Analysis officials. Attendees will have an opportunity to provide comments after the presentation, and a court reporter will take down comments.

Written comments can be submitted until May 16. Mailed comments should be addressed to Dave Navecky, Surface Transportation Board, 395 E Street SW, Washington, D.C., 20423-0001, Docket No. FD 35952. They can be submitted electronically on the board’s website, www.stb.dot.gov, by clicking on the “E-FILING” link and selecting “environmental comments.”

The process will include discussion across several categories, including transportation systems, safety, land use, recreation, biological resources, water resources, navigation, geology and soils, air quality and climate, noise and vibration, energy resources, socioeconomics, cultural and historic resources, aesthetics, environmental justice and cumulative impacts.

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