Advocates want the new governor to reverse his decision to stop the controversial high-speed rail project.
Supporters of the Madison-to-Milwaukee line say canceling it would derail Wisconsin’s economic recovery and it would threaten the new Talgo train manufacturing facility. “We’re asking Governor-elect Scott Walker (R) to reconsider his position on stopping the train. Now is the time not to think about politics, but to think about policy and you have to govern — and you have to governor for all people.”
Wisconsin State AFL-CIO President Phil Neuenfeldt says he was pleased with the turnout as about 200 to 350 union workers and train advocates rallied at Talgo to say it’s not too late to reverse course.
Neuenfeldt says the train project would have been good news for families and the economy. “This is the first bit of good news that community has had in a very long time,” he says, “It just sends the wrong message by moving those jobs elsewhere.”
Wisconsin got $810 million in federal funds for the project, but saying the state can’t afford the approximate $8 million in annual operating costs, Governor-elect Scott Walker has asked Washington to reallocate that money for fixing the state’s crumbling roads and bridges. Walker says manufacturing and tourism would benefit more from better roads than they would be expanding the use of rail.
Robert Kraig of Citizen Action of Wisconsin says Walker’s decision to cancel the already-under-construction project would cost Wisconsin up to 15,000 family supporting jobs and up to $100 million already spent.