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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

City of Aurora Strikes Back and Vows Fight to Halt Railroad Merger and Hold Canadian National (CN), Daley and Politicians Accountable

City of Aurora vows to fight Canadian National's (CN) and
Chicago Mayor Richard Daley's wish to reduce quality of life
and add tens of millions of cost in Aurora and Naperville

According to sources and reports, the City of Aurora voted unanimously to join other members of The Regional Answer to Canadian National (TRAC) in an appeal of Canadian National Railway's merger with the Elgin, Joliet & Eastern Railroad (EJ&E), not only funding the legal appeal, but taking direct aim at those who stand to benefit at Aurora's expense and who fail to protect taxpayers.

Aurora, the second largest city in Illinois, joins other communities, including Naperville in vowing to strike back at the approval by the Surface Transportation Board (STB) and questions on the environmental impact study that may have been insufficient.

Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner, who co-chairs TRAC, said "the increased outpouring of opposition to this acquistion indicates that more and more citizens are concerned about how this will impact their daily lives."

Part of the appeal also alleges the STB expedited the process to accomodate CN's purchase timeline. Sources say Chicago Mayor Richard Daley may have been pushing his clout behind-the-scenes to expedite approval of the deal so he can divert and dump significant freight traffic away from the City of Chciago onto suburbs at their expense.

Aurora Alderman Rick Lawrence praised Mayor Weisner's efforts to block the merger and agreed "we must fight this" and further stated:

"We have two enemies in this fight. CN and the Chicago politicans who smile at us, everyone from Sen. Dick Durbin to now Sen. Roland Burris, telling us how everything will be okay and they are on our side, but in reality, they and other politicians are afraid to stand up to Chicago Mayor Richard Daley."

"Daley tears down public housing in Chicago, shifting the problem to the suburbs so he can build multi-million dollar properties. Now, he wants to get rid of the trains and freight traffic because he wants property for his silly Olympics and other developments, shoving tens of millions of dollars in costs to taxpayesr in communities like Aurora and Naperville, two of the largest cities in Illinois."

"We need to escalate this fight. If our taxpayers have to pay one dime for CN or Daley's benefit, there should be consequences to all politicians who did not protect the taxpayers of communities like Aurora and Naperville who will be hit with dramatic change in quality of life and costs."

Lawrence notes Daley pushed state legislators, including some suburban lawmakers, to increase a regional sales tax to help bailout the CTA despite its chronic problems, high costs and mismanagement, supposedly to avert fare increases, which went up anyway after the tax increase.

Weisner agrees with Lawrence and says he's encouraged by recent developments and optimistic they can either stop the merger or make those responsible for the negative impact pay for it.

Just to create one overpass over Ogden Avenue in Aurora, which the STB acknowledges would be necessary to avoid serious adverse impact, would cost an estimated $50 million. They recommend CN pay two-thirds of the cost, but even if they do, it would leave almost $17 million in cost to taxpayers.

Lawrence's bottom line and message to CN, Daley and everyone is simple, "we will accept zero cost to the taxpayers of Aurora and Naperville."

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

it would cost a lot more then 50 mil for Ogden, Liberty and Montgomery Road. We could approach 100 mil very easily. Which would mean Aurora would have to find over 30 mil from somewhere.

Anonymous said...

They're not doing liberty or montgomery. only ogden.

eyes wide open said...

AHA PURCHASE ORDER:

Poison darts,
Body Bags,
Help Wanted Signs.

WUS UP THERE?

Anonymous said...

Ogden is a State of Illinois road.
State should pay for grade seperation, not Aurora.

Anonymous said...

It's amusing how Weisner is saying anything about a deal being shoved down someones throat after he shoved that Sho-Deen deal up everyone's a**!

That along with a $120 million tax increase that the entire amount will have to be used to pay for his silly Police Palace that hovers around $120 million (twice the budget). Don't fall for his press releases saying that it's on budget. What that budget shows is the shell without any of the $60 million in upgrades that he says he didn't anticipate (what kind of leader doesn't remember that a communication system will be needed in a police station?)

Weisner will very soon be pointing his fingers at his accomplishments.

Police Palace: $60 million over budget!

Sho-Deen: They will have a new poster to show the alderman come March with a big rally around the EPA study finally being complete, the Com -Ed purchase almost being settled, and the project being ready to rock and roll as (poorly) planned! And of course get ready for the after election request for additional funding from Sho-Deen. Remember Sho-Deen's spokes person saying they look forward to years of working closely with the city. Here comes the first round (after the election).

Old Copley Hospital: Forget this one: We can't give Weisner an A for effort. So lets give him a (C) for being (c)aught connected to Nayak and the Gov.

WIFI: Oooops another loser. But he can at east point at Naperville and say they were duped too! Weisner; You want to tell us where our fifteen million went that was earmarked from the $120 million?

River Street Plaza: Weisner don't you even think about taking any credit for that one. If anyone at all can, it would be Lawerance. Unfortunately Rick has ties with Ascher at the Roundhouse. I'm going to guess Joe Vantreese from River Plaza has opened his eyes to being associated with that charactor by now.

Prediction: If Weisner gets back in. The only thing he's going to be able to do is try and slip another tax hike in. Lets face it, without a huge pile of cash sitting there for the spending, he hasn't shown he can handle running the city and even with it. He's done a very poor job.

Weisner you just might want to take former Mayor Stover's exit strategy and use your health as a reason to duck out and down to FL with him. Trust me...the people won't hold it against you!

Anonymous said...

I bet Sho-Deen not only comes in with another rendering (not poster), but will come in with a development plan.

Now correct ME if I'm wrong. But isn't that the thing you start out with when you begin a project with a city?

I know that when I put in my sidewalk. I had to, what did I do? Lets see. I put the sidewalk in, then I submitted the plans to the city and paid a fee. No that's not it. now lets see.

I know. I submitted the plans, waited a few weeks for them to be ok'ed, then went in and paid a fee, and then had the work done. I then called the city and waited a week for it to get inspected. Then it was all done.

Sidewalk: Around three weeks

Billion Dollar developers agreement by the city: Six days?

Maybe if I would have worked it through Nayay and Rezko, I wouldn't have needed the permit, nor paid any fees to boot! Maybe I could have walked out of the city with cash in hand also like Sho-Deen!

Maybe next time.

Anonymous said...

What about the people who had to contend with freight and commuter trains along Lincoln and Pierce for decades. Also, those who live around Rathbone, Prairie and Jericho. Why was no one screaming and bitching to protect those people. Because no one gave a shit. Because they are mostly latino and black poor to middle class, so piss on them. But now we have the uppity snob yuppies on the far east and Naperville throwing a hissy fit because the noise might ruin their beauty sleep. Well, fuck 'em. I hope the vibration knocks them out of their beds at night.

Anonymous said...

The railroad keeps the country moving. Aurora should do its part and welcome this proven transportation system with open arms! C'mon, show some tolerance.

Anonymous said...

It's not that Weisner agrees or disagrees with the fight. He knows he can get his name in the paper and make it look like he's doing something.

Leonard said...

Does anyone actually believe that Tom Weisner, the City of Aurora or anyone else alone or in combination can stop the sale? If you do, you and Tom Weisner and the rest of the people that think such thoughts are in OZ.

The decision to try to stop the sale turned the struggle into a zero sum game, all or nothing. Yes, there could have been nothing coming back in the form of contributions to infrastructure.

My recollection is the Plainfield or Joliet or some other city negotiated a settlement of some kind, the terms of which I know not, but I think that was the better course of action. So now we have people that look the electorate in the eye and lie by saying we can stop this sale and we will fight to the end to do it.

What is really happening with such a comment? The politician and I mean politician in the pejorative sense on this one, is able to find cover because when the case is lost he can say well I tried. The political cronies of the politician in the form of lawyers and other so called experts and consultants make tremendous amounts of money and yes guess who pays once again?

What all of us are witnessing in this instance is not government. It is the corporation that calls itself government and acts in its own best interest and not the best interests of the people affected. Get used to it because that is what government has become.

The entire point of all of this is to have a large part of the cost of this sale be picked up by the tax payer. Why, because the deal is worth more money to the selling railroad. If the buyer had to pay for all of this it would not pay as much for the rail and if the seller had to pay for it there would be less net proceeds of the sale. It is that simple.

Anonymous said...

add tens of millions of cost

What the hell does this even mean? What kind of moron writes this blog?

Train whistles are sexy, anyway...

Anonymous said...

"Now, he wants to get rid of the trains and freight traffic because he wants property for his silly Olympics and other developments..."

Oh Lawrence....

Those silly Olympics...what a stupid idea for Chicago...I mean who would want all that international attention and commerce? Just think how silly it would be for Aurora, if it was near the site of the canoe and kayak events. Silly.

Speaking of Weisner taking credit for Riverstreet Plaza...I dont see whats worth taking credit for...Yup, a lot of brick and mortar, wonderful. How bout some actual life and commerce around the place? Drive past at night, they are obviously mostly vacant.

I understand a single investor bought 30-40 units for resale, for around $120K each, and now they advertise that most units are sold. Forget the hype and drive by, its a ghost town.

What happened to all those restaurants? Now there is only a Jimmy Johns with NO PLANS for anything else?

Until Aurora is considered a safe downtown, (I know it is mostly fine, but thats not the general view), businesses will strugle in Aurora. So places like Shodeen and Riverstreet Plaza are forced to be all bark and no bite.

Anonymous said...

This talk about Shodeen...

Is there actually a schedule for them to unveil new plans? And did Aurora actually get IEPA approval?

Sounded like skepticism/sarcasm, just verifying.

Anonymous said...

I don't think that the safety of downtown Aurora is the issue. It's the fact that there are not many reasons to go down there. Add to that the fact that for those who DO go down, they are forced to drive through ghettos that set the stage for a negative perception. Even Lake street seems to get worse and worse.

Anonymous said...

It's about time somebody took a stand!

Anonymous said...

Who?

Anonymous said...

Down town is not safe. In the fall the family and I went for a walk and strolled down the hill on Downer and were about to be accosted by three men near the Old Second when they suddenly had reason to think better of the situation. If I was not prepared for such eventualities I shudder to think what that night might have evolved into.

Aurora has a well deserved reputation.

Anonymous said...

Everybody knows downtown is not safe.
What does that have to do with the CN????

Anonymous said...

Looks like CN won. I hope the inflated egos of the mayor and the others on the council arn't too brused by this sale. Showed that their egos are more powerful than actuality. Dream on Aurora.