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Illinois Township Offered Big Bucks to Close Rural Crossing

(Girard, Illinois – November 12, 2011)

Officials of two railroads and the Illinois Commerce Commission made the citizens of Girard Township, IL “an offer they can’t refuse” last week when the Burlington Northern Santa Fe, Union Pacific and ICC offered a bribe of $725,000 to Girard to close two adjacent crossings.

The crossings lie on Substation Road as part of the preparation process for establishment of high-speed rail passenger service between Chicago and St. Louis.

The two railroads parallel one another about 80 feet apart.

“It’s a low-traffic road, there are no residences on the road, the road would remain open to access farm fields, and we can’t gamble with this kind of money,” observed Girard Township Trustee Josh Powell.

According to Township Highway Commissioner Bob Butler, some farmers were opposed to the idea, but most have been swayed because they realize the township needs the money. “They’re trying to close down quite a few of the crossings throughout the country as this (high-speed) rail goes through,” Butler added.