Chicago railroad venture ownership revealed – Transportation News

on Jun13

12 June 2017 | 6:08 pm

A retired businessman pushing a plan to lay rail track that circumvents Chicago owns almost 90 percent of the venture, according to records.

Frank Patton, 74, owns 87.2 percent of Great Lakes Basin Transportation, the company seeking to build a $2.8 billion, 261-mile alternative for rail traffic to skirt the city’s infamous congestion. Patton is the company’s founder and chairman.

Great Lakes Basin had sought to keep its list of investors outside the public record, but the Surface Transportation Board, the U.S. regulator for railroads, required the company to disclose it. The company would profit from charging railroads to use the company’s track.

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Norfolk Southern Railway and Union Pacific Railroad have both said they would be unlikely to use it. U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said their opposition brings “into question the demand and need for an additional rail line.” The Catholic Diocese of Rockford also is opposing the project, saying it will cut across land near Winnebago needed to expand a local cemetery.

Shipping giant UPS, which wrote to regulators, supports the project.

Only two people besides Patton own more than 1 percent of Great Lakes Basin: Jim Wilson, the company’s vice chairman and president, owns 5 percent, and Greg Frazados, Patton’s lawyer, owns 1.01 percent.

Another seven investors each hold stakes of 1 percent or less. Four of them are officers or consultants at Great Lakes Basin.



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