Transportation agencies in both Wisconsin and Minnesota are moving forward with discussions on high speed passenger rail connecting the neighboring states’ largest cities. Wisconsin Governor-elect Scott Walker has repeatedly said the Madison-to-Milwaukee line is dead, yet Minnesota officials are still on track with a study examining possible routes and environmental impacts in a Midwest rail expansion.
Wisconsin got $810 million in federal funds for the project, but Walker says the Badger State can’t afford the approximate $8 million in annual operating costs. The incoming governor has asked Washington to reallocate that money for fixing the state’s crumbling roads and bridges. Walker believes manufacturing and tourism would benefit more from better roads than they would by expanding rail.
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. Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz writes in his blog “this isn’t nearly over. High speed rail is too important to our entire state to let it get away from us.”
The meeting is scheduled from 5 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, December 7, 2010. The open house will be held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 4402 East Washington Avenue, Madison. Visit WisconsinRail.gov for more information.