This is shaping up to be a tough week for strawman railroader Frank Patton. First he sends a letter to the Surface Transportation Board explaining he can't keep up with the Environmental Impact Statement homework. EIS are hard and he wants to put that on hold and work on the Great Lakes Basin Transportation llc application to the STB.
Why does this sound like high school term projects?
Patton's motivations for this tactic are unclear.
Is Frank in over his head?
Does Patton want to bifurcate and divide the process into two halve, move forward on two parallel tracks, and finish the process in half the time?
It’s hard to say exactly why Patton has requested to suspend work on the EIS. Either Frank Patton is over his head with the EIS and financial backers are becoming hesitant to invest in GLBT at this point or GLBT has more strength on his team than originally estimated, and his team is capable of working in the application and the EIS. That would mean the "suspension" of the EIS process is just a ruse to force his opponents to spread resources thinner. This tactic could be logical if GLBT has greater resources than volunteers in a grassroots effort. If Patton has the financial resources he claim, this tactic makes sense.
My guess is it's getting lonely for Patton at GLBT as he has underestimated the resistance to the proposed GLBT project, and his financial backers are distancing themselves from him. In requesting a suspension of the EIS process, it shows the STB and the rail industry GLBT does not have the financial capabilities to complete the paperwork. This creates a new question.
How does Frank Patton hope to run this transportation company if he can't manage the STB review process?
Frank's letter to the STB was made public Friday. Monday was worse for Frank. Norfolk Southern sent a letter to the STB indicating Patton has not talked to the railroad before sending its response to questions to the STB. It turns out Patton's estimations of NS usage of the GLBT tracks are greatly over exaggerated. The actual number of trains using the proposed GLBT is actually zero.
One can either look at this situation as Patton's GLBT team made up the information and protections in a smoke & mirrors tactic or the GLBT is so inept there is no communication between them and the Class 1 railroads.
If the numbers provided by GLBT about the potential NS usage are complete ca-ca, how accurate are the projections of usage from the five other Class 1 railroads?
Will BNSF use GLBT?
Maybe Patton had a heads-up and indications the NS letter was coming. If that is the case, requesting to suspend the EIS process to work on the application is about the only tactical move he can make. GLBT is getting shellacked by the rail industry and by grassroots though social media on grounds GLBT is not needed and there will be no benefit. Patton needs to make progress with the application if he has any hope of justifying the existence of his proposed project.
Can this week get any worse for Frank Patton?
Is anyone else giddy with excitement?
Here's a song to pick you up Frank.