“We’re moving rapidly ahead,” Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz said, commenting about preliminary work getting underway on the Madison to Milwaukee high-speed rail line. The mayor is convinced the rail service will be “tremendously popular” when completed, although recent polling suggests a lack of strong statewide support for the project. “This is really important for Madison and for Wisconsin really. We would be one of the first places on the map for new Midwest high speed rail network. And what this boasts for our economy is nothing but positive. It is amazing to me that anyone would talk about trying to kill this project.” Republican gubernatorial nominee Scott Walker has vowed to do just that if elected.
The current schedule would have the rail line in service in 2013. Meanwhile, Madison officials announced Wednesday that the city has received a $950,000 TIGER II planning grant from the U.S. Departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development. The grant will fund the planning process for the city’s economic development efforts surrounding the high speed rail station. “The high speed rail station presents tremendous economic development potential for Madison,” Cieslewicz said.