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Public comment period on GLBT railroad extended

Porter County residents look at maps during a 2016 public meeting about the proposed Great Lakes Basin Transportation railroad at the Aberdeen Manor ballroom in Valparaiso.

A list of the 10 largest shareholders of Great Lakes Basin Transportation shows its founder and chairman, Frank Patton, owns just over 87 percent of the company, which hopes to build a 261-mile freight rail bypass around Chicago.

The nine other "principal stockholders" hold about 11 percent of the company, collectively.

The list was provided to the U.S. Department of Transportation's Surface Transportation Board Friday.

Five of the stockholders, in addition to Patton, are officers in the company. Jim Wilson, vice chairman and president, holds 5 percent. Greg Frezados, counsel to the chairman, holds just over 1 percent.

Mike Blaszak, chief legal and administrative officer; William Miller, chief commercial officer; and Tim Befort, chief operating officer, all hold 1 percent.

The four others making up the top 10 own less than 1 percent each. They are Gregg Herlin, Douglas DeBerg, James Ingram and Richard Baker.

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The names and ownership percentages were redacted from an application Great Lakes filed on May 1 asking for authority to build and operate a railroad running from LaPorte County into southeast Wisconsin. The company argued the redaction was necessary to maintain privacy, but the STB disagreed, and ordered GLBT to submit a public list.

The 10 shareholders collectively own over 98 percent of Great Lakes Basin shares. The company's application said it has 24 shareholders in total.

The STB has also told GLBT to provide its most recent balance sheet and income statement, and to make several other updates to its application by June 22. 

The application is a business-oriented request to build and operate the railroad. GLBT and the STB have also begun work on the required Environmental Impact Statement, though that work was suspended this spring, at GLBT's request.

Information about the project and the EIS process is available at the STB-maintained website greatlakesbasinraileis.com. Great Lakes Basin Transportation's website is www.greatlakesbasin.net.

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Assistant Deputy Editor

Andrew covers transportation, real estate, casinos and other topics for The Times business section. A Crown Point native, he joined The Times in 2014, and has more than 15 years experience as a reporter and editor at Region newspapers.