I was disheartened to read a complete dismissal of the village of Matteson and other Chicago suburbs offered by Canadian National in their recent op-ed endorsing their intention to merge with Kansas City Southern to make the country’s first Canada-United States-Mexico rail connection (“CN’s proposal will reduce congestion, traffic and pollution in Chicago,” May 4). Canadian National actually claimed to “solve Chicago’s longstanding rail congestion problem” by simply going “around the core of the city” and bypassing “downtown Chicago by about 30 miles to the south, looping through Matteson and then heading east towards Indiana.”
Those comments indicate everything I fear about a CN-KCS deal: The dramatically increased traffic flow of a CN-KCS combination hinges on its ability to run additional trains through our communities on the Elgin Joliet & Eastern Railway line. If this merger proceeds, we stand to see even longer wait times at crossings, increases in Metra delays, increases in noise level for residents living near the tracks and increased environmental impacts on local communities.
And in case it hasn’t been made clear to CN: Matteson, Joliet, Barrington and many more communities on the EJ&E line are very much a part of the Chicago metro area. Our congestion problems feed into the city’s congestion problems. Our Metra and Amtrak delays feed into the city of Chicago’s delays. It’s all interconnected.
MAYOR SHEILA CHALMERS-CURRIN
Village of Matteson
Supply chain trouble hits steel, too
I have a better one in the realm of manufacturing for the structural steel and miscellaneous metals industries: We are not only seeing prices up 100 percent year over year, but lead times into the first quarter of next year (“Supply chain squeeze: It’s not just about computer chips and cars anymore,” May 7).
More difficult is the fact that these materials are making it harder to let the clients know that their job will be on hold for nine months. With that, they are looking to alternative methods for project delivery and finding alternative materials to build with, i.e. concrete and/or modular materials. This is 100 percent going to affect the structural steel industry.
Elections are rigged and Illinois deserves better
Crain’s hit the nail on the head (“So how will the governor define ‘fair maps’ now?” Crain’s editorial, April 30). I was one of many who worked hard to gather signatures and funding for a constitutional amendment installing an independent commission to draw the legislative district boundaries, so the voters finally and fairly could pick their representatives instead of a few legislative leaders picking the voters for each district. Two separate initiatives were launched over the last six years with overwhelming public support for an independent commission. The last effort, presented to the Illinois Supreme Court, was backed by more than 500,000 signatures from Illinois registered voters, but the Illinois Supreme Court turned it down 5-4—not surprisingly, as its majority members are from the ruling political party. The current practice has caused more than 50 percent of the elections to be uncontested.
The elections are rigged. Illinois deserves better. The public needs to let their legislators and our governor know enough is enough. Our next redistricting should reflect the interests of the voters, not either political party.
Former member, Independent Maps, and former vice-chair, Change Illinois