Friday, April 8, 2016

Suggestion #1 for Fast-Take Frank

Dear Fast-Take Frank,
Great Lakes Basin Transportation llc
April 8, 2016

Make no mistake Frank.   This is not a knee-jerk reaction to the Illiana toll road.   There's some ticked off people out there who really aren't happy with you and your outside the process speculation project.  Right now Frank, you're caught up in a tornado, inside a hurricane, with a honey badger. 

You need some help before this train of yours comes off the tracks.  We're getting the feeling you're new to this game of easement siting and need some advice.  We're sensing a little frustration in your tone and some of our operatives are hearing reports that you are being a little snippy with the locals at the county government offices.  It is troubling to think you might be feeling down and thought it would be good to give you some advice.  Maybe you didn't get the playbook on Easement Obtainment.  Amazon sells it under Eminent Domain Domination.  Here's a couple tips that might pick up your spirits.

First, you need someone who supports your project.   A big name in the rural community would be a key mascot for your agenda.  It would have to be someone who farms and supports rail expansion.  Craig Lang in Iowa your man, but he will probably cost some money.  

Lang supports the merge of Canadian Pacific and Norfolk Southern.  Turns out there's a lot of Canadian Pacific track laid in Northern Iowa that runs east to Chicago.    He would be a good spokesman to attempt to explain how much more corn could be sold from Iowa into the Chicago and Toledo markets if only there was a bypass around Northern Illinois.    The fact that corn travels to plants in central Illinois, feedlots in Texas, and the export market in New Orleans is irrelevant.   Go ahead and talk about eastern corn markets.

Craig Lang has experience forming his own Astroturf organization in the past supporting Iowa wind energy corporations.   Windward Iowa was a key supporter of the Rock Island Clean Line transmission project through Illinois and Iowa.  He was instrumental in attempting to seek easement approval through Iowa and Illinois.  Just ask him, he'll be glad to tell you how key his support was for Clean Line.  

With him being in Iowa and your project being in Illinois, his support will be even more glowing on paper.  He’s probably willing to form a website and other social media enhancements for Great Lakes Basin Transportation llc.    You really need some help, Frank before this train runs off the bridge. 

Do you need a public relations or marketing firm to assist you in this endeavor Fast-Take Frank?  There's a good one in Des Moines.  With the Iowa caucus over, they probably have time for you and your transportation spec project.   They come highly recommend at creating a social media followers of a project like yours.  Craig Lang's done some previous windwart and eminent domain infrastructure for private gain work with them.  Top notch at forming a public relations campaign spinning dirty wind infrastructure projects into "clean" eminent domain projects.

Think about it this weekend. You're on a train, in a tornado, in a hurricane, with a honey badger.  It's time to look for a way off this train, Frank.  Actually, I wouldn't recommend either of these old worn out tactics.  The utility industry has worn these tricks out with rural communities.  Sure, the PR firm and the paid spokesman always talk a big game, but we've seen them all before.   We've had our fill of venture capital speculation projects seeking eminent domain for our homeland.  

Have a good weekend thinking about eminent domain, Fast-Take Frank. 

Just remember...train...tornado....hurricane...honey badger.

You have no idea what your up against. 

The Editorial Board at Strawman RR


  1. Scott you are amazing. LOL The image of honey badgers is so fitting.

  2. Scott you are amazing. LOL The image of honey badgers is so fitting.

  3. I'd like to talk to you -- will be attending meeting about this in Janesville. I agree that this project is abuse of public domain, however, media reports on hearing to-date make opposition sound like NIMBY.

    I will support those positions, but the real way to stop this sham is to demand an honest accounting of where the money is coming from, where the traffic will come from, and what major railroad interest is directly or indirectly behind this project.

    I believe you have correctly identified Canadian Pacific as the prime beneficiary -- but I believe it is possible that WATCO/Wisconsin & Southern is a player here. Can you please email me at:

    I will prepare a short presentation and have independently come to many of the same conclusions you have. Can you please help me get organized to raise issues in Janesville, WI, Monday (April 18).

    Unfortunately, all media reports on these meetings make it sound like the only concerns are NIMBY, unjustified safety concerns (yeah right, Frank, you will build lots of overpasses...) and common folk complaining about minor inconvenience.

    The real issue is that the business plan, by intent or by incompetence, is not legitimate. Frank is either a front or he will milk this project for all it is worth and leave it to someone else to eventually operate -- like virtually all American railroad development, the completed line would soon be bankrupt and these assets would be sold at pennies-on-a-dollar to one of the Class One railroads or the largest transportation holding company in the world -- WATCO, which, curiously enough, GLB jumps off from TWICE in Wisconsin -- east of Milton and then again past WSOR's former Milwaukee Road yard & roundhouse in Janesville yard at "Five Points".

  4. BREAKING NEWS!!!!!!

    The Times ( reported today that GLBT has admitted that it has wildly misrepresented their railroad plan -- this is YUUUUGE!

    GLBT's executive team now admits that their financial projections “are nowhere near that number.” In other words, the claims of having $8 billion from interested investors is a bold-faced lie!

    But here's the even bigger whopper:

    "Jim Wilson, president of Great Lakes Basin Railroad LLC, said recently the proposed rail line would consist of two main tracks and would be projected to have 16 to 20 trains per day, not the 110-trains per day repeatedly noted at meetings in Porter and Lake counties opposing the privately funded rail line."


    For months, GLBT has been lying that traffic would be 5 times what they actually project! If they would lie about 110 trains a day (which is a lie they repeated over-and-over again even earlier this week), they are probably lying about having 16-20 trains.

    But even if we give this group of dishonest business people (now a demonstrable fact) that benefit of the doubt -- they are lying when they claim the will build a double-track, ultra-modern, high-tech new rail corridor for 16-20 trains daily (likely the real number would be less than 10 and probably significantly so).

    The management behind GLBT nothing but team of cons resurecting the massive criminal financial scams that build the American rail network in from its inception until the early years of the 20th Century.

    Please contact me at:

    I have a draft for Monday's Janesville meeting and we need to hammer Surface Transportation Board -- GLBT is a fraud and today's breaking news absolutely demonstrates there is no reason to complete an environmental study. STB cannot legitimize this scam by allowing any aspect of it to move forward in any way.

  5. We the people. I went and searched through NWI and cannot find the article.
    If it is possible could you post it or e-mail it to me-
    I make rounds through my neighborhood every day and deliver information and speak to many people. This article would be a wonderful addition.
    Thank You,
    Art LeDoux
    Winnebago County Il.