Monday, September 4, 2017

The Epitaph of Great Lakes Basin Transportation

The Surface Transportation Board has rejected Great Lakes Basin Transportation llc application.
There is a reason the six Class 1 railroads did not support GLBT.  The larger Transportation Industry is forcing the rail industry to move away from Chicago, much like Adam Smith's "Invisible Hand of Capitalism" transforms the larger Transportation Industry through supply and demand.   Frank Patton fails to understand the Rail Industry is just a part of the much larger Transportation Industry.
The Surface Transportation Board was wise to think big and reject the GLBT application so quickly.    Just like the hundreds of affected landowners and farmers, the Surface Transportation Board has better things to do than play with Frank Patton fantasy.    The alternative to outright rejecting this project was to let the proposed project linger in STB Limbo until it became obvious to everyone that industry was moving away from Chicago.

While the industry was not supporting the proposed GLBT, few came out against GLBT.   Thanks Norfolk Southern!  The most vocal opposition to GLBT came from the affected farmers and landowners.
On the grassroots side, Great Lakes Basin Transportation llc did prove grassroots organizations can be successful in defeating a bad project.  For any grassroots organization who might follow, the first step to winning against a bad proposed infrastructure project is having the resolve and determination that this project does not belong on anyone's property.   Rerouting off one farm and onto another farm is not an option.   Far too long it was the strategy of corporations and perhaps the instinct of some landowners to divert the project on someone else's property. That has changed.

"We can block this thing is we stick together" has become the unofficial motto of farm based grassroots opposition.  We have become the voice of society who will challenge the need and viability of infrastructure projects and question the benefits for the public.

The corporate tactic of dividing landowners into 2 or 3 subgroups that fight amongst themselves over route siting doesn't work anymore.  It not good enough or winning strategy to move a project onto someone else and off your own property.

We can block this is thing if we stick together.

Farmer driven grassroots opposition starts with one person with the conviction to inspire communities across state lines.  It started with one farmer believing this proposed project was wrong and didn't belong on anyone farm,  and it snowballed from there. A few hundred supporters quickly turns into several thousand supporters across multiple states. Then there are the people in each county and community who grabbed ahold of the idea and became the voice in their community to provide the legitimacy for others to follow.  Resistance and apprehension falls like dominoes when people see their neighbor get evolved.

There is much more to a grassroots organized opposition.  There's the legal side, finding a lawyer and working with the lawyer. There is the social media managers and graphic artists.   There is the Twitter symphony.  There is the press release writer.  There is the researchers taking a crash course in the rail industry. Then there are the boots on the ground who organize and host the informational meetings, and finally, there are the signs and managing sign inventory.

Combined, hopefully we torqued Frank Patton's lug nuts, plugged his snapping rolls with grass,  wore out the knotter in his baler, and took his objectivity off the primary goal of developing his project.  It sounds like a lot to build such a team, but we have all these people in our rural communities. It's just a matter of organization, finding the right people and plugging them in the grassroots organization.

After that, it's the funding.  Thank you everyone for believing in the grassroots organization.   It was worth the investment in our farmland.  Whether it's considered an investment or perhaps benevolence, it was worth it. We won.

Corporations really have no clue who they are up against when a few hundred farmers and landowners decide to get organized.    They have no idea of the depth of our talent base, how fast we can move when the objective is clear, and the passion we will fight to protect our farmland.   

To those who follow BLOCK GLBT family with the next proposed capital venture eminent domain project, it all starts with one person who says we can block this thing if we stick together.

We stuck together.

We blocked Great Lakes Basin Transportation!
Great Lakes Basin Transportation is dead. 

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