Wow, where to begin. You have lots of misconceptions that need to be addressed. That is not to say that the promoters of the Great Lakes Basin RR don't have misconceptions too, they just have different ones. First, it should tell you something that none of the CEOs of the six Class I railroads are supportive of the Great Lakes Basin RR. That should tell you something right there. Traffic moves to and through Chicago for two reasons. First Greater Chicagoland is the largest population center and center of industry between the East and West Coasts. The second is that little puddle called Lake Michigan, too wide to bridge, and ferries are just too inefficient. Plus unless the Federal government decides to allow the two Western Class I railroads to pair off each with one of the two Eastern Class I railroads, then there has to be a point of interchange between the Western and Eastern railroads. And that point is going to be somewhere along the line from Chicago to St. Louis to New Orleans. As bad as the congestion is in Chicago, the situation would be much worse in St. Louis, Memphis, or New Orleans as all three locations have much less infrastructure to facilitate that interchange. The biggest reason for all the rail traffic going to Chicago is that the Greater Chicago Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) has a population of ~9.9 million people, and a Gross Regional Product (GRP) of $561b annually. This is the third largest in the USA, while the St. Louis MSA is only the 20th largest.
Now to address the St Louis "Dream" section. The reason that there is no one willing to privately finance a barge to rail/truck Intermodal terminal is because it will be a money losing proposition.
Just as there is very little railroad Intermodal traffic from New Orleans to Chicago, and none from New Orleans to St. Louis, there would not be enough traffic for a barge either.
Please change the page layout it is very had to read the text over the image.