The legislature’s budget panel derails a train maintenance facility in Milwaukee. The Department of Transportation had requested two and a half million dollars in bonding, to cover costs of a maintenance facility for Talgo trains made in Milwaukee. Milwaukee Democrat, Representative Jon Richards, said rejecting that request is a mistake. “We are going to mothball these trains, we’re going to lose jobs, and we’re going to be sued,” said Richards. “How is that a good outcome? That just seems grossly irresponsible.”
But Joint Finance Committee co-chair, Representative Robin Vos, said it makes more sense to use existing trains on the Milwaukee to Chicago Hiawatha service. He said that would cost the state $13.4 million a year, versus $23.4 million for the Talgo trains.
The Talgo contract was a holdover from the Doyle administration, which signed a contract with the Spanish firm Talgo in 2010. The trains were to have been used on the now-cancelled Milwaukee to Madison “high-speed” service as well as on the existing Hiawatha line to Chicago. “Just because a governor, before me, signed a deal that I didn’t agree with, and now I’m expected to throw ten million dollars down the drain? That’s not a good deal for anyone,” said Vos.