The high speed rail project is put on “indefinite hold.” The Wisconsin Department of Transportation orders contractors to suspend work on the high-speed train connecting Madison and Milwaukee.
Pat Goss is executive director of the Wisconsin Transportation Builders Association. “From what I understand, one of my members who had a contract in Jefferson County to begin rebuilding some of the track was given an order yesterday morning to proceed with that project, and then yesterday afternoon that order was rescinded by the Department of Transportation.”
Goss says he’s not sure whether it’s a temporary delay or permanent stoppage of the project. He says, though, this order leaves the contractor in limbo. “Not knowing what level of work now they’ll have for their employees next year. We’d like to see some quick resolution one way or another. Whatever the decision is we certainly will respect that.”
Contractor Edward Kraemer & Sons has other projects with the state – upgrading the infrastructure. But there’s more need than there is revenue. Goss says there’s no guarantee that workers would pick up a job elsewhere.
Republican Governor-elect Scott Walker promised to kill the $810-million train project. This derailment comes just a day after the election. DOT Secretary Frank Busalacchi confirmed in a statement Thursday that he told contractors and consultants Wednesday to “interrupt their work for a few days” per the governor’s request.
Busalacchi says, considering the election results, his agency will “assess the real world consequences, including the immediate impacts to people and their livelihoods, if this project were to be stopped.”