Madison’s mayor holds out hope on high speed rail. “I think that there’s a long process ahead of us,” Mayor Dave Cieslewicz said regarding the efforts by Governor-elect Scott Walker, to kill the Madison to Milwaukee passenger rail line. “I don’t think it’s dead.” While Walker hopes to use high speed rail dollars to fix up our deteriorated roads, he’s reportedly out of luck. Cieslewicz refers to correspondence from Transportation Secretary Ray La Hood. “I think he’ll be coming to the conclusion over the next several days or weeks, that that’s just not possible.”
The mayor also responds to Walker’s concerns that the annual price tag to maintain the train between Madison and Milwaukee is too high. “Its highest estimate is about $7.5 million,” Cieslewicz notes. “That is not even approaching one percent of the DOT budget.”
The mayor is hoping to bring Walker and La Hood together and reach consensus on high speed rail. “I think Secretary La Hood would be open to a conversation about that, I’d be open to a conversation about anything we might do locally with our RTA to help out on that. Let’s not let thousands of jobs slip away because of a relatively small amount of money.” Walker says he’s heard nothing that would change his decision to kill the Madison to Milwaukee line.
Robin Colbert, WIBA