Earlier this month, the largest Wisconsin rail transit group, Northwoods Rail Transit Commission, expanded, as Dickinson, Iron, and Ontonagon counties joined the group.
Wendy Gehlhoff is a chair on the transit commission and said opening and connecting these rails is crucial for local economies and businesses.
â??It's important to have rail service, not only for our logging industry and forest products, sawmills and such, but also for any of the mining projects that occur in the future, and just the economy in general; we can attract additional businesses up here by having rail service available,â?? said Gehlhoff.
The Northwoods Rail Transit Commission was formed in May of 2012 and currently has twelve Wisconsin counties as members of the group. Various market studies have also been conducted to identify freight volumes large enough to encourage the Canadian National lines to upgrade existing local lines. This could mean expanding local products to more areas in the United States and abroad and using more than just trucks for transportation.
â??Itâ??s just more efficient,â?? Gehlhoff said. â??You can haul thousand of tons. No one is trying to get rid of trucks. A lot of truckers are in support of the rails just from the standpoint that right now trucks have to be used for long hauls. Trying to utilize all the different avenues to continue to build the economy is what's important.â??