Douglas County considers joining rail commission
Commission represents counties in Northwest Wisconsin and Michigan's Upper Peninsula.
Douglas County is considering membership in the Northwoods Rail Transit Commission.
Commissioners work to sustain and enhance safe, reliable and efficient rail service critical to the businesses, communities and economies in northern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
Jim Caesar, director of the Development Association, said he recently received a request from the Northwoods Rail Transit Commission to join them. He said joining the organization requires a resolution by the Douglas County Board and costs $500 annually, which would be paid for by the Development Association, and would give the county two seats on the commission, he said.
Douglas County’s Land and Development Committee approved joining the commission Tuesday, April 27.
If approved by the Douglas County Board, it would be the 11th county in northern Wisconsin to join the commission. Ashland, Florence, Forest, Iron, Lincoln, Marathon, Marinette, Oconto, Oneida and Rusk counties are already members. They work with Baraga, Delta, Dickinson, Gogebic, Houghton, Marquette, Memominee and Ontonagon counties in upper Michigan.
“We could give it a shot for a year and see how it is,” Caesar said. “They work on rail service, particularly short-line and that sort of thing. There are some businesses, particularly out in the county, that it would be a worthwhile organization to be involved with.”
Caesar said if the county joins, he and Supervisor Charlie Glazman would likely serve on the rail commission.
Glazman made the motion to forward a resolution to the Douglas County Board from the Land and Development Committee.
“I think it’s the right thing to have a position on that committee, that board, just to watch over it and have some say," Supervisor Alan Jaques said.
“I think it’s going to pay for us to be there,” Douglas County Board Chairman Mark Liebaert said.