Lawmakers assure Elwood port district plan is dead
By Mary Baskerville For The Herald-News August 16, 2012 8:48AM
More foes of port plan
ELWOOD — Will County Board members and Jackson Township officials on Wednesday told trustees and residents that they do not support the idea of taking power away from the village.
Will County Executive Larry Walsh said the draft legislation originated in notes from meetings with 85 stakeholders, but failed to be introduced because it the idea never gained acceptance. The draft never did call for tolls on local roads, he said.
“There never was — never will be — a move to put tolling on any of our community roads — or Route 53,” he said.
Will County Board members Cory Singer, Deborah Rozak and Don Gould said they do not support the draft legislation’s proposals to reduce local government control.
Jackson Township Supervisor Tim Vanderhyden said he will not support any port authority that limits the rights of township government or the village.
Updated: September 18, 2012 6:15AM
ELWOOD — State Sen. Pat McGuire and state Rep. Larry Walsh Jr. brought their pledge to Elwood on Wednesday night.
At issue was discussion of once proposed legislation calling for the creation of an Inland Port Authority running from Route 53 west to Interstate 55 between Laraway and South Arsenal roads.
Speaking before a standing-room-only audience at the Elwood School gym, the legislators said they will not introduce legislation calling for a port authority that would take powers from the village of Elwood.
However, while they do not support the legislation as presented in draft form by former state Sen. A.J. Wilhelmi, both Walsh and McGuire said that work needs to continue to find a solution to truck traffic.
The issue, Village President William Offerman said, is that the inland port authority as proposed in the draft legislation would take away the village’s self-governing powers, including police enforcement and road maintenance.
Village Administrator Nick Narducci has presented information aimed at substantiating Elwood’s claim that it can handle the road, traffic and other challenges created by the CenterPoint Intermodal Center.
The village has also begun working with Martin E. Lipinski, director of the Intermodal Freight Transportation Institute, University of Memphis. The impact on Route 53 is real, with some 5,000 trucks a day, Narducci said.
“We have it now. We need to deal with it,” he said.
McGuire said the draft legislation was never introduced, adding, “I will not introduce this draft legislation … I won’t support it in this form.”
Walsh said the legislation has been “dead for over a year — we are not looking to advance this any further.”
Calling truck traffic on Route 53 overwhelming, Walsh said work needs to be done “to find the solutions we need.” Any future meetings to discuss the issue will include the mayor, he said.
While no one spoke in favor of the port authority, some offered several suggestions for dealing with truck traffic, including opening Brandon Road to through traffic and Laraway Road to truck traffic.