A “confidence booster” for those who hope high-speed rail between Madison and Milwaukee is a success. Ridership on Amtrak’s Hiawatha service between Milwaukee and Chicago increased eight-percent in December from the same month in 2008.

Marc Magliari of Amtrak says their primary competition remains the automobile, and a growing number of people are deciding to skip the roads and take the train into Illinois.

The continued increase could indicate a good future for a planned Amtrak line connecting Madison and Milwaukee. Construction is expected to start later this year, with service scheduled to start in 2013. The work is being funding with $810 million in federal stimulus dollars.

AUDIO: John Colbert reports (:39)


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